Learners’ needs should always be at the basis of a sound curriculum: That’s the goal of our Needs analysis which has been used to:
a. Find out what soft skills (e.g., communication, problem-solving, teamwork, learning mindset, creativity, leadership, strategic thinking, customer service, innovation, and risk
management) an ICT graduate/employee needs to perform professional duties
b. Identify the gap between what ICT employees can do and what they are required to do
c. Address the demands/requirements of stakeholders (managers, companies, VET agencies)
d. Compile their demographic profile (personal and cultural characteristics)
e. Find out how they use soft skills daily
f. Specify their perceptions on difficulties that they face on the job
g. Assess the extent to which their needs are met by currently available programs and books
Such analysis has some elements of innovation which makes it tailored to best reach the project’s goals:
– Needs Identification includes perceived/present needs, as well as potential/unrecognized needs of ICT employees
– Survey of related (multi-language) literature
– A triangulated approach will be used (information will be collected from employees, employers, and academics)
– Validation of standardized questionnaires (assessment tools) on soft skills (OCAI, MSAI, etc.)
– Observation of employees’ behaviour in different circumstances
Our analysis will be used to develop a detailed curriculum outline that is highly transferable and employs open pedagogies by establishing the theoretical and methodological foundation that will guide the development and validation of the program and associated instructional materials, as well as assessments. The objective is the development of a quality curriculum based on consolidated, research-driven models of innovative pedagogical practices and learning theories that relate to adult education and distance education.
A detailed curriculum outline will be developed based upon results from the needs analysis and literature review outputs. This highly-transferable, modular-based curriculum will incorporate open pedagogies and define desired participant soft skill competencies, such as critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving, and will specify the learning outcomes and objectives aimed at developing identified Industry 4.0 soft skills for ICT SME and micro-firm personnel. In doing so, this innovative curriculum will provide the framework for contents that will employ an experiential learning approach through highly interactive and engaging gamification strategies, simulation scenarios, OER, and bite-size learning resources. This will develop the soft skills needed by learners to solve future real-world problems for work and life. The inclusion of digital badges and a completion certificate will motivate participants and increase employability by providing evidence of transferable soft skills competencies. This curriculum will be designed to be delivered via electronic and print media. OER content will be available for global access, thus contributing to a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable global society.
Design and develop digital soft skills learning scenarios, based on the proposed curriculum
IO4 consists of: Design and develop learning scenarios based on the proposed curriculum. The learning scenarios are intended to be delivered in an innovative manner, primarily online, with a strong gamified, blended learning component. These scenarios are also intended to facilitate the simulation and testing of future activities. In addition, such features of the learning scenarios are intended to promote rapid learning and rapid application of current knowledge to future market conditions.
This will be an open educational resource that will become available to share and disseminate widely across Europe, and will be accessible to a large number of users.
The platform will also be suitable for mobile applications.
All tools developed by the project will have full open access for the project beneficiaries on the project’s Soft Skills Training E-Learning Platform.
-> Scenarios for Students/Learners (IO4) All Digital Scenarios for Students will be developed in printed and electronic versions, freely accessible through the Soft Skills Training E-Learning Platform in all partners’ languages.
MEASURABLE OUTCOMES (project SKILL): Elements of innovation printed and electronic content for a flexible experiential learning curriculum that includes:
– Open pedagogies (e.g., cybergogy, heutagogy, paragogy)
– Modules that focus on specific soft skill competencies
– Problem-based learning activities drawn from real-world scenarios
– OER content
– Content for gamification
– Content for simulations
– Bite-sized content
– Digital badges and completion certificates
Expected impact: content from IO2 will be used by IO4 and IO5 to develop.
Highly interactive learning materials, such as simulations and games related to soft skills, will be developed based on the proposed curriculum. In contrast to other learning delivery methods, such as instructor-led training or asynchronous eLearning, simulations and games are dynamic virtual environments, as they provide decision making opportunities based on changing variables and alternative scenarios through feedback drawn from end-user decisions and actions. These processes are particularly important in soft skills training, as they enable the employee to make decisions, act upon them, and witness the outcomes in a virtual environment rather than in real life, where a wrong decision or miscommunication can
have an adverse effect. In addition, simulations and games are regarded as tools that may support differentiated learner groups, including underserved learners, learners with skills needs (e.g., numeracy and literacy), and informal learners seeking to learn from experiences. Simulations and games can also support collaborative learning practices.
The need for soft skills is transnational and will continue to grow and, in this context, the use of innovative practices, such as simulation and games, should be adopted by VET providers since they create the capacity to solve real-world problems.
The Soft Skills Training Methodological Handbook is developed to guide learners, adult educators, VET trainers, and managers of ICT SMEs and micro-firms on how to use the products generated from this project including its curriculum, digital learning resources, learning scenarios, simulations and on using the online platform. Containing several instructions, it will describe the training value of teaching soft skills in the ICT sector by explaining the resources and the training methodology to be used for each resource (face-to-face and online tutoring). Suggestions and Tips are also provided.
Our e-elearning area will host all the resources developed during the SKILL Project. It is intended as an educational resource that will be able to encourage the active participation of our target users. Each learning object contained in the e-learning area will be interactive, with high quality standards, in order to engage users during the learning process.
Moreover, users will be able to download a certificate of attendance as a final step of the learning and assessment path.
The platform will also have a Networking aspect and a participatory approach: this means that it will be directly linked to a group on Facebook!