Unlocking Potential: The Benefits of Skills Based Learning For Individuals and Organizations


Discover the shift toward lifelong learning in our fast-paced world. With careers lasting longer, individuals seek flexible, multimodal learning options with tangible return on investment (ROI) proof like badges and credentials. Watch this on-demand webinar to discover the concept of a credentials ecosystem, leveraging open badges for skill validation. Gain insights into crafting stackable learning paths for continuous expertise enhancement.

Video Transcript
Everyone, and thank you for joining today's webinar, unlocking potential, the benefits of skill based learning for individuals and organizations. I'd like to thank today's sponsor, Canvas by Instructure. Canvas by Instructure is an educational technology company dedicated to elevating the success of all learners, amplifying the power of education, and inspiring everyone to learn together. Today, the Instructure Learning Ecosystem comprised of its flagship product Canvas LMS and several products serving education institutions and businesses support tens of millions of educators and learners around the world. I'm Alexandria Clapp, the Senior Content Manager for Learning Tech and Sciences at ATD. I will be your moderator today, and I know our speaker plans to keep you engaged.

So if you would like to interact with her and your fellow participants throughout our session, be sure to select everyone in our chat box. I see some folks already saying hello in there. And we will be having time for q and a during the session at the end of the session, so we'll hold on to any new or unanswered questions to be addressed at those times. And now I'm very pleased to introduce today's speaker. Melissa Lobel is the chief academic officer at Instructure, and we are looking forward to learning more about skill based learning.

So I'm going to pass it over to Melissa to take it away for us today. Wonderful. Thank you so much for having me, and thank you, Alexander, for a wonderful introduction. I'm gonna go ahead and quickly share my screen so that I can jump into my presentation. Let me double just do that super fast.

And as Alexander explained, we're gonna talk a bit about, the benefits of skill based learning for both individuals, and we'll talk about you as learners and the learners that you all work with as well as for organizations as a whole. For some context, I wanted to share just a little bit about me because you'll be hearing some examples that are coming from those, institutions and organizations that I work with as well as some of the teaching work that I currently do. So to give you a little bit of my background, again, for some context here, before we jump into unpacking what is skill based learning, why is it prevalent today as opposed to five years ago, and where do we believe it's gonna go? But as I mentioned, many much of the conversation that we're gonna have together today will be grounded in experiences that I've had with both higher education organizations, k twelve organizations, and corporate organizations looking to think about how to make their learning most impactful. My career has spanned almost twenty five years, in, educational technology and, again, has largely been on both the learning side in institutions as well as on the, side for technology solutions. That is where I am today.

I am the chief academic officer for Instructure. That role means that I get to have these kinds of conversations with you all on a regular basis. It's really about thinking how technology becomes a driver of or an enabler of or a foster of really successful learning environments and really thinking about how we learn everything from how our brain functions to how we, as individuals, create context for ourselves, how are we motivated in how we learn, taking all of that and aligning that to how we can leverage technology to do the best we can in creating and enabling the learning activities around us. So let's start with a little bit of context. Knowing that, I should also mention, in addition to being the chief academic officer at Instructure, I am an active instructor in a, certification program focused on elearning design.

In fact, I teach a course called interactive, elearning, and that course is largely focused on how to engage and focus and drive engagement with your learners. If we think about that and we think about that engagement focus, You know? How has learning changed? Why are we having questions around skills? Why are we talking about badges and all of these other things that don't look like the way education looked five, ten, even fifteen years ago? Well, that's because so much of what's around us has changed, What's needed for us as individuals and for our learners that we interact with, what's needed for them to be successful has has changed. In fact, I think many of us are familiar with an older version of education, and maybe, you know, some of this is still prevalent today. But we think about education, it was more traditional. It came out of a k twelve and a higher education experience, largely focused on that higher education experience.

And it was institutions education institutions delivered their learning as experts. They were the captive builders and releasers of knowledge in a lot of ways. That resulted in often one dimensional instruction that was not industry aligned. Or if it was industry aligned, it was more from a theoretical perspective as opposed to a very hands on practical action oriented, what do I need today type of experience. It had its place, and it absolutely delivered credentials in via via the diploma.

And it it, helped prepare students not only in their discipline area, but some overall skills depending on where those learners would go for their education. But in some, what we've left is a very learning is theoretical world. And the reason we've left that, we've seen that actual transition happen more quickly in k twelve, and, and then higher ed followed thereafter. The reason that that transition has happened is really twofold. One, the ability to bring technology into the fold has unlocked the way we wanna interact with our environments or how we wanna learn.

And two, there's the misalignment that's really surfaced over the last ten years between what's happening in a learning environment and what's needed in a, work workplace environment, both from a general or broad or durable skill perspective as well as a very specialty skill perspective in particular disciplines. So what we've moved to is more of a centralized learning approach. And in this case, we're using technology. We're centralizing these experiences. Some of this is still traditional in what it looks like, but technology is enabling us to unleash or unpack new approaches to how we deliver those experiences.

How can we get in people's brains and understand how we fire how we how we build pathways over time and use technology to do that? But we've also introduced supplemental and hybrid and all sorts of different permutations. There's a lot right now about microlearning and how that is one of the best ways that we can learn as humans. We've introduced these platforms, these approaches. We've created some nontraditional, as we wanna call education, the higher education k twelve experience is traditional. We've added into the mix some nontraditional components, things like boot camps, vocational programs that, are very targeted towards a specific outcome over a specific period of time.

Things like MOOCs as we used to think of them, now Coursera, edX, other platforms out there where you can just go outside of learning to gain specific experience. LinkedIn Learning is another example. And we're starting to see industry involvement. I think particularly today, we're seeing more and more industry involvement, whether it's asking for specific types of learning programs or it's, actually doing the training themselves. And so we're shifting now from a theoretical learning environment to a contextualized learning environment.

Where I believe we're on the cusp of and it there are places, and organizations and communities that are starting to do this is shifting to a learning skills driven environment. And this is where the learner is at the center of that learning, has full agency, builds pathways, thinks about we're gonna dig into these pieces. What is this Edu three point o, if you wanna call it, look like? That's where we're gonna focus. But it's about how do I bring together as a learner various components and pieces of a set of experiences that demonstrate the expertise that allow me to connect my components of expertise, in my own mind and externally, and ultimately better prepare me for the path I choose, both professionally and, I would argue, even personally within our communities. So we're going after Edu three point o, but how and what does that look like? Well and why also? Let let's just step back for a second and ask ourselves, why is that so important? We know it is.

We can feel it, but but what's really driving this? There's some great research done out of the Stanford Center on Longevity that talks about we're not gonna live hundred year lives. We're getting really close to that. Our environments, medicine, our ability to, you know, treat and hone our body in more effective ways, advancements in science, all of that has led us to these longer lives. Well, what do we do with a hundred year life as opposed to a thirty or forty or fifty or even seventy or eighty year life? Well, what we become is a lifelong learner over that journey. And that lifelong learning not only means that we might be learning later in life or engaging activities, but it also is shaping these paths where we're gonna come in and out of, roles and opportunities way more often.

Gone are the days where most people work at the same company for thirty to forty years or in the same, education environment or whatever it might be. Now people and I I've read a recent statistic that, the average twenty five year old today will experience ten careers before they're sixty or ten jobs before they're sixty. That was unheard of when I was growing up. And that shifting in and out, also, the constant advancement in our worlds, what innovation is bringing, that is also causing us to shift in and out in order to reskill and retool and readjust who we are. So hundred year lives not only mean that we have more opportunities to learn, to change, to evolve, to do different things, but it also means that there are that we will most likely do that.

And because of the innovation that we're seeing in society and the drive towards new ways that we all construct our communities and society around ourselves, that's driving this need to to regularly come in and out, retool, reskill, upskill, and continue to learn throughout our lives. So you'll hear me very rarely use the phrase student. I will when I talk about it in a traditional way as we think about these lifelong learning journeys. But, really, what we've made in our, in in our learning environments, you know, whether you are an instructional designer in a corporation and are developing training for your employees, or you're a k twelve teacher, or you are, you know, an HR, executive. All of all of your, constituents are now learners.

And I and I would argue that you'll hear, institutions start to stop using that phrase student, even higher education institutions. I work closely with Arizona State, for example, and they stop even using the word student because that connotates a certain type of interaction or engagement between that student and that organization. And, really, what we all are are learners. And the underlying piece to being learners is a skills based approach. So this is some research work that we did through Hanover Research, really great organization that reached out to thousands of, educators in different contexts, students, because I'll use the phrase students here because that's how they thought of them through how they reached out, and even individual instructors, administrators, and so forth.

So they reached out to thousands of folks. And what they uncovered was, as we're thinking about the shift from traditional learning to skills based or learner or focusing on the learner, that this aligned directly with what individuals, that they surveyed wanted. In fact, their most focused areas for pursuing any kind of learning activity or engaging or being very intrinsically and extrinsically motivated to do a learning activity was for career advancement and wanting to learn new skills. That feeds right into this. We're on hundred year journey paths.

Right? And how are we gonna think about how we move in and out of our lives? Those were the two most important facts. Now cost, program flexibility, other components to what does that look like for me to go learn, weighed into that. I think that's really profound that over half of the survey population is looking for career advancement and the ability to learn new skills. That is directly skill aligned and and, helps to us to start to think about how do we transform the learning that we're offering. If we also look at what they found, those those that we survey, those thousands, if we look at what they found most important, particularly as they looked at skills based learning, they found, again, the act the ability to apply knowledge and skills and the ability to get feedback or to develop yourself as you're building note that knowledge and skills.

So this is a very skills demanding environment today as well, and the learner, in this case, very much is taking agency over their path or wants to. They may not know how to, but they want to take that agency. Now if we think about how this impacts overall the work or what are we delivering via learning. Right? So it's part of it is how do we deliver that, and we'll talk a little bit about that in a minute. Part of it is also what are we delivering.

If we're trying to think about building a skills based learning environment, what does that mean? I think for many, it can, it can mean very specific discipline oriented skills. So, for example, if you have a a career in cybersecurity, there are some very specific technical skills needed to be successful in that career. If you want to be a plumber, there are very specific skills needed to be a successful plumber and to get your to be able to be a, you know, commercial plumber. So let's say you've got those skills and those disciplines, and we'll set those aside. We've done a fairly good job, particularly in our vocational and technical education, and I would argue on the corporate education side of teaching people specific discipline skills.

Course, there's areas where there are new disciplines and we're not ready for them yet, and we have to move fast as educators, as designers, as learning experience builders. So we have to move fast in some of those. But but but we've got experience, and we can continue to build that. Where there tends to be a fair amount of play area are what some people call soft skills or durable skills or, contextual skills or human skills. I've heard it called all sorts of different things.

But these skills or competencies are also needed to be developed. And in fact, as you look at employers, they will say these durable soft skills are some of the largest areas where there are gaps in the learner coming into their environment and being successful in their workplace. And these can focus on and this was, I thought, really interesting research done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. This is aligned, with both colleges and employers. They talked about how ready are the learners coming into their environments.

And you can see here, the blue line represents the importance of those skills, and the purple line represents the proficiency. And you have gaps across everywhere except, interestingly enough, technology. And then that's followed closely by perhaps some teamwork and equity and inclusion. The teamwork and equity and inclusion, that has become more of, a norm in education as a whole, to a certain degree. I think there's lots of work to be done in both of those areas, but you can see where some of that has advanced, and you can also see where technology that we need to we need to understand how to use technology to survive to a certain degree.

So you can see where those gaps might not be as big, but look at gaps like critical thinking or the gap, for communication. These are key and profound skill and competency areas that are important for us as individuals to make ourselves most effective and most desirable even in our workplace environments. But it's also important for us as we represent organizations or educational institutions in how we think about building the learning that we're developing. So thinking about that grounding. Right? So we've shifted.

We're gonna live these long lives. We're focused on lifelong learning. We've shifted from student to learner or learner centric or agent learner agency oriented, and we understand that skills and competencies, there's gaps. So we need to be rethinking not only how and who we're teaching, but also what we're teaching. Well, we have to remember as we go across that journey that we need to find ways that we can address every type of learner that's entering into that journey.

So I know the audience for this webinar will be, some people coming from education organizations, some coming from corp corporations or, industry as we call it. Some folks are coming just to learn more about the space because they're trying to understand the role of either technology or innovation, or they're trying to think about how do we make this connection between learning and skills. Well, if we think about all of our different roles, I would argue all of our different roles, it doesn't matter where you are, are all going to be addressing a learner and a different type of learner at different stages in their lives. So you could be addressing and recruiting and hiring somebody that looks very traditional and is in that category, the the Edugy one o or Edugy two dot o, and that that's important. But you most likely are also going to have that person at some time become a part time learner or really or or or that person might exit or be returning back into the workplace to with reskilled knowledge.

You're gonna see all of these different learners as you think about how we build a path towards getting to skills and competency based learner, and we need to be prepared for that. One of the things that I teach in my class is, and and like I said before, I teach an interactive elearning course, and part of it is knowing your audience. In fact, that's in the very beginning of the course. How do you understand who are you teaching, why are you teaching them, and what are you teaching them? This piece, the who piece, is so important. We often forget that as we're mapping through how do we build or how do we engage in the most successful learning.

So while these may have some descriptors of types of learners, there's lots of types of learners out there, and I encourage you as you think about making these transitions, whether it's you as a learner or you as a provider of learning, to really unpack and understand your audience as you're planning for that. Now part of the how right, we've talked about the who, the what. You know, we need to move towards these durable or soft skills and competencies alongside the technical or more disciplined, oriented set of skills. We've talked about we need to know who our audience is as we think about how we build or manage learning or we go engage in our own learning. And then we also need to think about how is that collected and represented.

And we'll I'll give some examples. So I'll touch on it here, but I'll give some examples as we continue through this conversation. If we think about, though, that lifelong learning journey and we think about it starting now I would argue it starts at a very, very young age. You know, your first couple months after being born, you're learning and everything around you is in your environment you're learning from. In fact, you're learning more rapidly in your first five years than you will in the rest of your life.

But that learning is often very, contextual and, environmentally oriented. It's not usually as fixed, although parents will choose to, engage in different activities. Right? So let's just back forward to the first day of school. Let's let's argue whether that's preschool, kindergarten, whatever that first day of school might be, and think about now a full learning journey from that first day of school to perhaps your various last day of work, or I would even argue, I've heard people say, k to gray. Right? Because you might choose to engage in learning even way past you a full time or even part time job, but you still wanna grow and develop.

I always see the the the cute posts in social media around the ninety year old that gets their degree or gets a certificate or something like that because they wanna enrich themselves. But let's just we'll we'll just use first day of school, the last day of work. In that, you gather a ton of experiences that represent your expertise. K twelve environment. You will learn maybe in your higher education environment.

You may not choose a higher education environment. You may choose to do other types of of learning, whether it might be military service, whether it might be vocational or trade oriented, apprenticeship learning. There's so much. So so you're you're growing through this, but you're collecting. Right? You're collecting, obviously, a k twelve diploma.

If you've finished k twelve, you may not choose to do that. You might be collecting a GED. You might be collecting, specific trade certifications. You might be collecting, certif programs and certificates. You might even be collecting badges.

You might be collecting just examples of work that represent your competencies, licenses. Right? There's so much that you're collecting even through that first part of the circle, and then you head off into your career. And now or the first step of work for you. Well, now you're even collecting things from that career. Could be workplace, opportunities for learning and credentials and certificates.

It could be specific, again, licenses associated with your career. It could be retooler and reskilling. I, at Instructure, been there ten years, and I've held seven different roles. Every role, while they may have built on one another, they actually have been different roles over time, and I've had to reskill myself as I've moved from role to role. Well, how do I represent that? How do I collect all of that? You know, we might even be learning in our communities.

I'm an active scuba diver, and I learn, and there are skills that I learn from that around safety and technology that maybe not don't apply necessarily to my job today, but it may apply to my job tomorrow. So we're collecting all of this, and what we've talked about in the industry for quite a while is building a comprehensive learner record. We'll talk about what those look like in a minute, but if you can think about all of those pieces together, how we've how we've learned those, and then we start to think about how do we actually deliberately build journeys to gain those pieces, and how do we think about how we craft the learning so that it directly aligns to those skills and competency gaps and the industry needs in a way that's demonstratable and reflectable. Right? So this comprehensive learner record becomes essential as we think about shifting this. And comprehensive learner record, I've had people say, oh, well, that's a product.

It isn't necessarily a product. I would in fact, I would say it's not. What comprehensive learner record is is a thing. It's a way to capture in some way all of what you have learned over time. Now there can be different permutations of that.

We'll talk about that in just a minute. But it's a concept in the space of I am more than a diploma and a degree or a diploma and a certification or a certification and, a single badge. I am so much more than that, and I need to understand that about myself as I think about how I build my career, and I need to be able to demonstrate that to others. So I promise we'd talk about some how. Right? So we've talked about this.

You're a learner. We're focused on learners. We're looking at skills based learning specifically because this is what, both the learners and employers are asking for. We've talked about how do we collect all of these pieces and that we are the the collection of so much learning that's constantly happening around us, and that that's gonna go on through our lifetime. Well, great.

But what do we do with that? Like, how do we think about that as a space and industry as learning specialists or learning experts? How do we think about that? Well, I like to boil it down to we need to be thinking about how to half track and demonstrate learning, and all three pieces are important. So the first part around pathing, this is where you are making choices as a learner, or you are helping learners understand how or where they can make choices about how you collect all that stuff. So often, it's because nontraditional journeys into careers are much more accepted today than they've ever been. It's hard to envision what does a path look like. We all know a traditional path that we've had from the past at Edu one dot o of you go to school, you get a diploma, you get a degree, maybe, or you go to school, you get a diploma, you get a, a certification or a a professional licensure, and off you go.

Well, it's a very, you know, sort of programmed or specific path. Yet that is not, the path to many successful organizations. The path to many organizations can be flowing in and out just like we saw that swoop, that snake swoop in the lifelong learning, or even in that circle, it could be constantly retooling. Well, we need to not only be able to understand our own paths and build them and map them. It's kinda like mapping a family tree to a certain degree, But we also need to know if we're at junctures in our lives, what are our choices, or where should we take paths, or what are recommended paths to get into certain professions, certain careers, or certain work opportunities that we're looking to.

So that pathing piece adds together this mapping of learning alongside an ability to demonstrate that path, And we'll get into demonstrating more fully in a second. But there's a component to that pathing as well as to tracking, and I would say it blends into both of these, where not only are we, collecting our paths and able to demonstrate our paths, but we're also thinking about and reflecting on our paths. How do those things connect? I made a comment earlier about being a scuba diver. Well, if I start to think about the skills that I am learning in that setting, both the soft or durable skills, those competencies, as well as thinking about some of the more harder technical or discipline skills, wow, that reflection, and if I connect that that to maybe the work I'm doing right now as chief academic officer, that reaction reflection is meaningful. It's meaningful to me because it helps me understand my strengths and weaknesses, gaps, and opportunities.

It's also meaningful to employers. I think about when I hire individuals, why? What's the why? Why did you choose those things or how do those come together? The why is that reflection. So as we think about building our pathways, understanding or evidencing pathways to the learners that we're supporting, and giving them opportunity to demonstrate those pathways, we're also allowing them to understand the connective tissue between each of the steps in their pathways where it exists. So that's pathing and it's bleeding into tracking. The tracking has become, a an essential piece because we need to ensure that what we're tracking is verifiable and reliable.

It's not just somebody decided to claim something and now it's theirs. So this comes in the way of some of those traditional, cert certifications or licensures out there. There are already paths to those. There's diplomas and degrees and things like that. There's paths to those, but there's also paths to individual or microlearning pieces.

Those can be in the form of certificates or most often we see in the form of badges. That demonstrating or that tracking piece actually, we'll let's let's focus it as tracking first, then we'll get to demonstrating. Give somebody the ability to think about what they what micro piece or what experience, and this often aligns most deeply to those skills and competencies. Oftentimes that we showed before, those, like, durable skills. We think about communication.

It's hard to say, I'm a good communicator because I passed a communicate an eight week long communication class. It's easier to say, I'm a good communicator. Take a look at example of my oral work, and take a look at example of my written work and the badges that I've gotten associated with those. So there's this level of acknowledging the micro pieces or the microlearning as well as aligning that to some of those durable or soft or competency areas that we're seeing gaps between, employers and employees or learners and employees surface. And then finally, as I mentioned before, this leads to collecting a full learner record.

Now this is where the product comes into play. Like I said, I think of comprehensive learner record as a concept in the space, and the learner record, it could be known as a wallet, a transcript. There's all sorts of variations of this. I think you're gonna see a lot of development in this space in the next couple of years of what this needs to look like, but there's some sort of verifiable third party oriented, single location of all of the experiences that you represent as a learner or that you're helping your learners build that can then be used not only to bring things into, but to demonstrate externally. So I'm gonna give you a couple of examples.

This is an example of that pathing and that learning map that I was describing. This is a more traditional, example where you see some classes in here, but you also see some certificates. You see some skills over here, twenty first century skills, a badge was earned. And if you un went underneath these learning maps, you could see criteria, examples of work, and so forth. This gives you a sense of when we're talking about that, popping the learning maps.

And then if you start to think about happy learning from a skills alignment perspective, this gives you another example, and you'll note all of my references are noted at the bottom of the slides. I should mention at the beginning, I will share these slides. So if you wanna go and dig deeper into some of this research that outside organizations have done, you'll have all of those resources to do so. But as we're thinking about pathing, it's not just here's what a path could look like or here's what the path that you've built or here's a recommended path, but here's also how we think about building those paths so that they align to specific skills. And this is where if we think about a very future focused orientation to this, you know, Edu three dot o, this is where thinking about how and what you do in your work can then directly align to a skill or a competency you're building.

It should feel seamless and not forced or not formal, but it should have this in this individualized, personalized, and informal aspect to that that can then be formally recognized via, again, badges, certificates, and other acknowledgments of particular skills, all driven by examples of work that as an individual learner produces. We wanna keep thinking about examples. I mentioned earlier, I teach a course. And if you're if any of you are instructors on this call or professors or teachers and you're trying to think about, okay. How do I look at my course, and how does that orient to a broader world of PAPI learning? There's two ways to think about that.

One, yours might be part of a larger program or a larger series or, you know, have a certain level of skill building that, is needed as somebody progresses through, building a a more deeper sense of expertise. So that's the case for me. My course is one course in a program of six courses, but my course is also a course that embedded in the course itself, it's an eight week long course on interactivity learning, is a specific skill aligned to a very specific badge, and I've incorporated in that. It's not that I am badging an assignment. Quite frankly, I would discourage you from thinking about looking at your course now and looking at your syllabus and saying, okay.

This is easy. I'll just make a badge for this one thing that students are doing or these four things. I would instead take a take encourage you to think about how you embed something like a badge or a skill in a larger course, and how is that part of a course experience, but how is it also different in what a student submits and how you assess that? So you might not just be you know, the learning you might not be building or teaching or you as learners, it may not be traditional course orientation. It may be learning paths or skills or we thought think back to this slide to get that twenty first century critical thinking skill. That could be something that's embedded in a very unexpected course, but that that's where that, knowledge and that experience is developed.

Okay. So we talked about this learner record. We've talked about how to path learning and why and where and how you might think of incorporating it. Let's talk a little bit about how track how you could track learning. This is where badges come into play.

I think badges, you know, a lot of folks will say badges feel like just a way you know, we can give somebody a badge for anything, and how is that meaningful? So I've heard that debate in the community, especially around learning. And I would argue that badges done in an open badge, verifiable, reliable, and thoughtful approach are not something that can just be awarded to anybody at any time. But the challenge with badges is we all have to be thinking about them the same way, or we need to be discerning shoppers of badges and discerning users of badges. So the good badges and I'm not saying there are bad badges. There's you know, people love badges.

I I teach gamification, and badging is, like, a really interesting component to gamification, side note, that you can start exploring. It can be really fun. But if we think about badging as awarding the stamp of knowledge or experience or capability or, most importantly, skill or competency on something that someone has done or that they possess, having an open, again, verifiable, reliable badge is critical. So you wanna be using badges from technologies that are open verifiable, Open in particular because it's how you build that learner record. But part of what needs to be part of this badge needs to be everything from what is it to how is it assessed, who's endorsing it, when does it expire, and most importantly, what is it aligned to? What are the skills and competencies that it aligns to? So, again, as we think about shifting, hopefully, everybody's seeing the value of the skills, based world and and the drag towards skills and competencies.

Now if we wanna think about not only sending our learners off on their journeys and us building journeys as learners, but we wanna think about how do we verify each step of those. Open Badges is an excellent way to do that that's that's, again, verifiable and can feed, when done right, important, components of an overall learning record. So here's another example. This is, again, the course that I teach. The storyboarding badge is a badge that I award, and you'll see here that this is the criteria, the overall earning criteria.

And then you'll see to the right that I have a rubric specific for that, badge. This is it is also a graded assignment. So what I've done is but I have I have manipulated the rubric so that the graded assignment component to this actually drives the specific skills to get the badge. So it it has become an activity. This is not the original rubric for that assignment.

It has become an activity very specifically to demonstrate a skill that I want my learners to learn that honestly could be extracted out of my course. It'd be great if they had this skill, but I see the value of them driving this skill. And you'll see that there is criteria around if you want to earn the badge, you have to get a certain minimum score in order to be granted that, and that criteria plus the example of the work that's been submitted is attached to that badge. That gives you an example of what a badge can look like as we're thinking of building skills and competencies or even discipline specific expertise. The last part of tracking that record is we need to think about where is all of these piece where are all these pieces coming from? I showed you the full ecosystem a couple of slides ago, but, like, where are we getting the data or the information? I think it's important to know to build this comprehensive learner record or what might become a wallet or passport or we'll talk about that in a second.

You're sourcing all sorts of different, systems. This, I happen to work very closely with Buena Tech. For those of you familiar with Buena Tech, it's standards organization in educational technology, largely focused for a long time on k twelve higher ed, now doing quite a bit of work around workforce alignment, including open badges and, comprehensive standards. Anyway, this is an example of sources that might feed a comprehensive learner record, and it's everything that we might experience early in education as well as a badging platform that when we might experience outside of education or coming back, as we think about that hundred year squirrel, as well as any sort of assertion service that will demonstrate work that we've done that isn't in a traditional learning environment. So it could be an internship.

It could be community service. What's not shown here and it needs to be shown here as well would be corporate learning platforms. Right? So we are seeing more and more badges being issued via, corporate environment or corporate LMS, for skills that someone is building in their own workplace. So if you think about those adding it at the top, this gives you all of the ideas of when we track learning, what do we need to be pulling together to be able to demonstrate that? And then that leads nicely to, demonstrating learning. And this is where I wanna wrap up.

So as we think about again, we've started with skills and competencies are key. We're gonna live these long lives, and we're gonna have way more jobs than we ever expected, and we're gonna move in and out. We're gonna constantly reskill and retool because of the way and the pace of our world and the way our economies and societies are rapidly changing. We know there's a gap for learners. We're moving to learner.

Right? We're at the center. The learner's at the center or the learners that you're servicing. They're at the center, and they have agency. And we're help we're seeing where their gaps are so that they can be successful. So as the creators of learning, we're trying to address those gaps, and we're trying as best we can to help feed the learner's ability to pack their learning, to understand where and what they need and when, the learner's ability to track their learning and reflect on the connective tissue in that learning, and then finally, the learner's ability and our ability as as the crafters of learning experiences to help demonstrate that learning.

And this is where, again, that comprehensive learner record turns into a passport, a wallet, whatever somebody might call that's a collection of all of these pieces that is demonstratable but also verifiable and, reliable and lives on for your hundred year journey. Right? We need to be able to track these and build these over time. This gives learners the ability to collect everything that's, we would deem traditional through to nontraditional experiences in meaningful ways to be able to to provide examples of that work. I mean, I even argue that we need to start thinking differently about how we teach in all in all environments because we need to give learners work products so that they are able to then go demonstrate who they are and their proficiency and the use uniqueness of what they have to offer. So they're collecting all of this.

They're feeding it out to everything from building new pathways, taking the next step, informing, right, your new environments of learning of where your skills and competencies already are, to sharing with the world that this is who I am and this is the success I'm building, all the way through to using this for job opportunities maybe outside your your current environment or within your current environment and collecting this ongoing demonstration or potentially ePortfolio of who you are and how are you contributing to your work environment, your social environment, and your communities. So, hopefully, this gives you a good high level overview of why we're thinking about skills based learning, the value behind it, how we then transition that into, enabling learner agency and how they can pack, track, and demonstrate their learning. All of this, well, you may be only part of an intersection of this. You may be interested in this as a learner. You may be interested in this as understanding how to, deliver learning in more meaningful ways, how to think about where you need to connect and what kind of relationships or partnerships you need to build.

Wherever you come at this from, being aware that this is is happening in this way, I think shapes even the little things that we do. Like, I think about, you know, every discussion prompt I might do in a course, or I think about when I'm off learning in my corporate environment and taking a class, I think about that interaction and how is that feeding this shift towards skills based and competencies and the demonstration thereof. So with that, I have one example that I wanted to share of an institution that's doing just this maybe to ground this. I gave you a couple of examples within my course. So, Jones College is in Mississippi, and they now this is a higher education example, but you're gonna gonna see that they turn this upside down, and it is not traditional higher education.

So they, specifically, were challenged with how do we find more discrete pathways directly from the the offerings that they provide. And I'm using offerings and not degrees deliberately. The offerings that they provide to communities in Mississippi, specifically the ones where there are jobs and there are learners, but somehow they're not matching up, or there are jobs and there are potential employees that need jobs and it's not matching up. So in order to do so, they stepped back and said, let's look at all of our programs, and let's unpack how those programs or even some of the traditional degrees. How do these, like, how do these directly align to the work that, those individuals in underserved communities are seeking or the work that's seeking those individuals.

Right? There's a match. There's a matchmaking thing here. So how do we get there? So the idea here is that by mapping this, directly, we are able to, they are able to punctuate or or identify steps in this process with digital credentials. And now not only do they understand, it's really helping them with their pathways. They can see their success on their pathways.

Some learners go off then into the workplace and come back, and that's okay for Jones College because what they're doing is directly aligning via this this pathing, tracking, and demonstrating approach so that they can match the people that want work with the people that want them to work. And much of this is both skill oriented to the industries they're servicing, but also those soft skills or competencies we talked about in the beginning. So with that, I thank you. I encourage you, if if you're interested in learning more, we have a couple of episodes on skills based learning on our InstructureCast dot com. This is something that I host with someone else.

And with that, I wanna jump into any questions that might have surfaced. I could see there was chat activity, but I didn't open it to see the questions. So, Alexandra, do we have questions to dig into? We definitely do. Okay. I'm gonna start with Bridget.

I know that there's some some further back, but this one's like a more recent one that just happened. So any thoughts on creating badges that perspective employers will actually find meaningful? And then there's some chatter about sort of the reputation of badges right now. They do get often a bad rep, and that it can be a lot of the times, right, because you're getting a badge without necessarily, it being associated with, like, a demonstrated skill. So just any any of your thoughts on that. Yeah.

That's such those are two really great questions, and I'm actually gonna stop my share so we can see each other's talking. Okay. So on the second part of that, and then I'll get to the first part of that, one of the challenge of badges is everybody's issuing badges. And one of the things that I I caution, as you as an organization look to issue badges, make sure you're issuing badges that's something associated with your brand recognition or expertise. So So I'm gonna give you an example, so in structure, we are learning management system.

So largely, that's a large part of our solution. We have badging and other things. That said, we offer an educator program. It's called a campus certified educator program. That program awards badges.

It is specific to how to most best use our technologies. It's not, like, point and click on a, on the technology, but it's like, how do you use these in your work? Okay. We have enough brand recognition and customer recognition that that makes sense. We have a lot of experience in that space. If we went and tried to badge, how do you do, how be good communicators.

If suddenly we were issuing as an organization communication badges, people would can scratch their head and go, why are they doing that? I mean, they might be good communicators, but why do they have the expertise in that? So I encourage badging issuers. If any of you are on the call and you are badge issuers, keep them in your domain of of brand awareness and expertise because that's how we can drive value. Don't just badge everything as an as necessarily an organization. The other piece to that first part of the question is as you think about, making those demonstratable, or valuable to industry, this is where partnerships with industry become really important. So if you are a an instructor on this call or you're an ins an instructional designer and you are building content specific for specific disciplines, go out and ask employers what they want.

I had a really interesting conversation. So my course is part of an instructional design course, as I've talked about, or an elearning program. And we brought all of the the faculty together, and we all started talking together in this program about what do we believe are the skills that are needed for when somebody exits this program that are demonstratable. Like, if we batch these things, what's meaningful? It's how we landed on storyboard. That's there's only one of two things that's badged in the entire program, and it's because storyboarding is a skill.

And I think all the instructor designers, many of you will groan. A lot of us don't like to do it, but it shows so much about your skills and your ability. And that is really valuable, and it came out of these conversations with a group of us that are all leaders of instructional designer teams or firms or organizations saying that probably the one thing that we need to see the most is somebody's ability to storyboard because it's not necessarily somebody's ability to build something. They might use different technologies, although that's important. But let's see, can they construct a meaningful learning experience? So so badge where you have expertise, use your brand, use your credibility, don't Don't badge everything would be my one part of advice.

And the second part would be understand if you are building learning content what's most valuable to industry. Go ask. Go get perspective so that as you think about what you're badging, it is something that is transferable, and I highly encourage you to have a work product that is also transferable. So a student can say, yeah. I got the badge, and check out my storyboard over here, and look at how great this is and how it demonstrates all of these different aspects of design that I might not, necessarily be able to demonstrate by just you seeing the badge.

Oh, I think you're on mute, Alexandra. Yeah. I am. Okay. So I'm gonna jump to Kim's question about skilling.

This is a great one. Any recommendations for how you can measure skill proficiency and mastery, especially when folks are designing courses that are elearning. I'm hoping that doesn't mean it's just passive, that there is an opportunity to build in some practice and skills demonstration in there, but I'm sure you have some thoughts Yeah. So I have thoughts on on part of this, and then I also have a challenge for all of us out there to go do something. And so the first part of my thoughts are you have to reconstruct what assignments or, demonstrable activities look like from the beginning.

So this is where I think we get into trouble because, as educators, when we're building grading or assignments, we've not optimized for demonstrating skills and competencies. What we've optimized for is building knowledge in the particular subject area. So I think about I was a political science undergrad, and I had a great learning experience, but I think about everything that I've learned, and it was always in context in those programs of history and theory and, you know, how to understand the landscape of political science or what are some of the current issues. But I didn't extract out how can I manage policy in a specific way? Like, that wasn't necessarily a deliverable. So we have to shift to moving from theory, understanding the foundations.

If I see another learning objective with, you know, understand, I'll I'll shake a little bit. And I have actually one in my I'm still working on getting it out of my syllabus. But, because it should be about applying, contextualizing, there there has to be work involved. So you have to go back to your assignments. You have to go back to your grading and think about how am I assigning things and what am I having students do? What does that work look like? And then how am I grading that from a competency perspective and not necessarily from a knowledge or reflection that you did the reading or something else.

So that's hard because it's time consuming to grade. And I fully acknowledge that, and I have not solved that problem yet. But some people in the chat were saying, like, multiple choice doesn't cut it. Totally agree. Like, we need to be showing more apprenticeship style.

We need to be showing our skills alongside the knowledge that we might be building. I think AI is gonna help us get there. I actually got through fifty minutes of a conversation before saying that AI, which is crazy. But I think AI will get us there eventually. It'll help us be more efficient in how we grade and analyze or at least provide some feedback.

But there's some good tools there that kinda help you do it in a large scale way. That's still a gap. The thing I'm challenging everybody, and I I've seen some, vocational and technical institutions do this, and I'd like to see us do this mainstream. How do we stand in a room and watch somebody do something? I'm gonna say rebuild an engine. How do we then use our device and be able to grade based on a rubric that person's work right there, and how does that feed then? A mastery tracker that shows at what level of mastery do you have in each step of building that engine.

That connection hasn't quite happened yet. I think these this the way to build these toolings, like I said, you just can see it in some vocational technical. Nursing does this, although they would say they don't have smooth technology yet to make that happen. Nursing does this. You can see this in some education.

How do we observe skills? How do we track the that observation? And then how do we map that to mastery oriented grading as opposed to traditional content oriented grading? Yeah. I love that. Gosh. I wish we had more time to have conversation now because there's a lot of, lot of challenges with that. I've dropped the link to, recent podcast conversation I had with Bob Mosher for folks who are also just interested to kind of take some of this.

If you're trying to push back with stakeholders in terms of resources you need or just having more time to actually build in that, what does that skills demonstration look like, how are we actually measuring it. And maybe that can help, but kind of a different iteration of of some of what you're talking about, Melissa. I know someone had asked about, some badge creation platforms, and I see some folks dropped some Mhmm. Some things in the chat. Yeah.

I don't see any more questions. So does anyone have any burning questions that we have not got to? And you'll be devastated. Oh, here we go. Oh, but I think that was in the context of something you were showing. I don't know if it makes sense to go back to that.

No problem. I'll put I'm I know this is crazy, and it's an audience of over a hundred, but I will drop in the chat my contact information. If there's anything that I can help, anyone with or if there's a particular slide you had a question on or you wanted, some more insight into something we saw. I saw some people talking about some tooling. One of which is an Instructure tool, which is great.

If you want help, I can get you directed to the right people. There is my email address. Don't hesitate to reach out. I would be happy to answer any questions or follow-up. Awesome.

Well, thank you so much, Melissa, for a great conversation today. Thank you for our attendees asking great questions and participating in our conversation, and thank you to Canvas by Instructure for sponsoring today's webinar. We hope to see you at future ATV webinars, and have a great afternoon, everyone. Thanks, everyone. And this concludes today's webinar.

We thank you all for attending. The recording will be available at webcast dot t d dot org. We will be sure to send our registrants an email tomorrow with that link. Please visit our event calendar to sign up for future webinars at webcast dot t d dot org slash events. Have a great day.