New Resource: Merging Work and Learning to Develop the Human Skills that Matter

We just added a few new resources to our Resource Library. This one in particular will be of interest to programs and institutions looking to redesign their curricular approach and partner with employers to better address the Essential Employability Qualities in their educational programs.

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Merging Work and Learning to Develop the Human Skills that Matter – from Pearson and Jobs for the Future.

This report showcases promising practices from the US and UK to suggest a forward looking agenda for education and training, moving from uncertainty to the economic advancement of all learners. Some of the strategies profiled include:

  • competency-based education, which allows learners to show what they know as soon as they know it and move quickly to the next level;
  • employer and industry-led models, which radically lower the opportunity costs of education by providing further training on the job;
  • the latest labor market intelligence tools and techniques, which provide educators with powerful insights into the changing skills marketplace;
  • dynamic and work-based pedagogy, to instill the critical skills needed for the future of work; and
  • new pathways and business models that support access and completion for learners at any point in their career and at virtually any income level.

 

Defining and Delivering on Quality in Higher Education: The EEQ CERT

In early June, The QA Commons concluded the Essential Employability Qualities Certification (EEQ CERT) Pilot, in which we partnered with 27 programs from 14 colleges and universities to co-design a new approach to assuring that graduates are prepared for the 21st century world of work. Key aspects of this initiative include addressing quality as well as equity gaps in learning and preparation:

We know that high-quality credentials beyond high school can transform lives — that they open doors to economic opportunity and social mobility and help individuals flourish in a challenging world. But we also know that not everyone who pursues learning beyond high school actually gets a high-quality experience. Too few even get to the finish line and earn a credential. And some who do, still struggle to find employment and succeed in today’s workplace.

Quality Assurance Commons and the EEQs will help address this gap. They also will help institutions make good on an equally urgent promise of closing equity gaps in access to quality experiences and in post-graduation outcomes. QA Commons pilot efforts and other research show that far too few institutions gather and use enough good data on how well their students learn and how they fare after graduation. Moreover, even when collecting data, far too few institutions disaggregate their data to uncover hidden inequities in access to quality experiences — especially across different racial/ethnic groups.

Read the full article by Debra Humphreys HERE.

We are grateful to Lumina Foundation for its wonderful support of this initiative.

The EEQ CERT Pilot – Recent Conference Presentations

The QA Commons team and several EEQ CERT pilot partners have been on the road, presenting at conferences and getting the word out about our Essential Employability Qualities Certification pilot and our initial findings.

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Slide from DEAC Conference presentation about the pilot program learning community.

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education Student Success Summit – with Niesha Ziehmke, Guttman Community College and Joan Cook, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

Assuring Graduates are Prepared for the 21st Century Workforce – A Model for Kentucky?

Distance Education Accrediting Commission Conference – with Kimberley Winfield and Christine Jax, Ashworth College

The Essential Employability Qualities Certification: A New Approach to Address Employer Needs and Assure Program Quality

WASC Senior College & University Commission – with Laurie Dodge, Brandman University

Bridging the Gap: Assuring Graduate Readiness for the 21st Century with Essential Employability Qualities

Integrating 21st Century Skills into the College Classroom – A New Course Offering

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In response to growing interest in teaching “21st century skills” at the postsecondary level, Matt Hora (author of Beyond the Skills Gap) has developed an online 7-week survey course at UW-Madison’s Division of Continuing Studies on the topic.

Check out the course info HERE.

The course is designed to give faculty and instructors an introduction to the research behind four skills – communication, teamwork, self-regulated learning, and critical thinking – and practical tips on how to integrate them into college courses.  The course also takes a critical look at the skills discourse surrounding 21st century skills, and emphasizes disciplinary approaches to curriculum design and instruction.  Through video-taped lectures, course readings, online annotation, and case study problems, the goal of the course is to help learners transform an existing lesson plan or course syllabus to prominently feature one of the four skills.  They hope that the course will be a valuable resource for faculty developers, instructors hoping to improve their teaching, and for anyone interested in skills-related issues.

 

More on Developing employABILITY Thinking: An Australian Initiative Going Global

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The employABILITY Initiative is led by Professor Dawn Bennett from Curtin University, Australia. Dawn makes the link between employability and higher education through her work on “employABILITY thinking”: students’ cognitive and social development as capable and informed individuals, professionals, and social citizens. You can read more on this thinking in her recent post.

EmployABILITY educator guides, student resources, and a self-assessment tool are available without charge to all higher education teachers and students. Professor Bennett emphasises that embedding employABILITY thinking in post-secondary classrooms means doing things a little differently, rather than doing more.

Students begin by creating a personalised profile using an online profile tool. Most programs incorporate the profile tool as a required task or reading, or in some cases as an in-class activity. The profile report gives students multiple opportunities to engage with their development and underpins career- and self-development activities in class. Student advisers and teachers can trial the tool by entering ‘test’ where it asks for the student number; Dawn recommends 15 – 20 minutes for this task.

For more information and a short introduction to the model and validated measure, visit the educator website. Registration is quick and will give you access to all resources, events and articles. You can also access the student site to explore the student resources.

Finally, the Australian initiative has established a global LinkedIn community with weekly resources, easy steps and lots of support. Follow these simple steps to get started.

Our gratitude to Dawn for being willing to partner with us and to connect the employABILITY resources with The QA Commons work on Essential Employability Qualities and the EEQ CERT. 

Learning from Life and Work – New Report from New England Board of Higher Education

We’ve added another new Resource: The New England Board of Higher Education Learning for Life & Work Report

On March 19, 2018, the Commission on Higher Education and Employability released its final report, Learning for Life and Work. The report details 19 recommendations, as well as strategies for stakeholders to collaborate to increase the employability of the region’s graduates.

The report’s recommendations are grouped in 6 areas:

  1. Effective Use of Labor Market Data and Intelligence
  2. Targeted Higher Education-Industry Partnerships
  3. Planning, Advising and Career Services
  4. Work-integrated, Cooperative and Internship-based Learning
  5. Digital Competencies
  6. Emerging Credentials and Credentialing System

 

EmployABILITY – New Resources

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Thanks to Flazingo Photos for allowing use of this photo.

Two new resources have been added over on our Resources page – check them out:

Developing EmployABILITY:  EmployABILITY is the ability to create and sustain meaningful work across the career lifespan. This is a developmental process which students need to learn before they graduate. The Developing EmployABILITY Initiative is a collaboration involving over 20 higher education institutions and over 400 scholars internationally. Our goal is to enable and embed employABILITY thinking in the curriculum. The Initiative is led by Professor Dawn Bennett at Curtin University. New collaborators are always welcome. The Developing EmployABILITY website for educators is full of resources to support developing employability qualities in students.

Engagement and Employability Integrating Career Learning through Cocurricular Experiences in Postsecondary Education – A NASPA publication, which provides a discussion and numerous examples of how to identify, measure, and assess employability skills as an outcome of cocurricular experiences.

Developing Employability: A Beyond-Disciplinary Transformative Approach to Higher and Postsecondary Education

The QA Commons recently co-presented with Jeff King from University of Central Oklahoma and Niesha Ziehmke from Charles and Stella Guttman Community College (two of our 27 EEQ CERT co-design partners) about the EEQ CERT co-design process and transformative learning at the 2018 Transformative Learning Conference, March 8 and 9, 2018, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Here are our slides:

 

And HERE is the extended abstract of our presentation.

Enjoy!

 

 

Beyond the Skills Gap: Preparing College Students for Life and Work

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Beyond the Skills Gap: Preparing College Students for Life and Work just received the Ness Book Award at the 2018 AAC&U conference. I attended the authors’ session at the conference and learned quite a bit about their research and work in Wisconsin, and the connections to the Essential Employability Qualities Certification that we are developing. It was an informative and provocative session, with some critical considerations for higher educational programs seeking to make sure their graduates are prepared not just for their first jobs, but for a lifetime of employability in the changing world of work they will encounter. 

BOOK SUMMARY:

Beyond the Skills Gap: Preparing College Students for Life and Work explores how educators can ensure that graduates are adequately prepared for the future, challenging the argument that sluggish economic growth is due to a higher education system insufficiently attuned to workplace needs, with the solution being more specialized technical training and fewer liberal arts graduates. The book’s authors challenge this conception of the “skills gap,” highlighting instead the value of broader twenty-first-century skills in postsecondary education. In the book, the authors advocate for a system in which employers share responsibility along with the education sector to serve the collective needs of the economy, society, and students. Beyond the Skills Gap emphasizes the critical role of educational practice and design in preparing students for the workforce and ensuring that future employees develop robust technical expertise, cultivate problem-solving and communication skills, transfer abstract knowledge to real-world situations, and foster a lifelong aptitude for self-directed learning.

HERE is a link to the session slides posted by Matt Hora, one of the book’s authors and the key presenter at the session. Take a look at slide #14 about classroom methods. Also, check out the “Six things we need to do” at the end. Many of these actions align to our Draft Criteria for Certification – Version 2.  What do you think?