On November 22, 2023, we hosted our Innovation Day Event, where we invited some of the brightest, most innovative, and creative minds from different fields to help us design a solution... code named 'Skill Bursts'.
Since the end of the pandemic we have been exploring how miFuture can do more to prepare Generation Z for the future of work, do more to unlock the skills employers actually want.
Gen Z tell us they do not know about skills, roles, and sectors of the future and cannot visualise higher valued career pathways - There's a lack of awareness!
Stakeholders tell us there is a mismatch in understanding the skills that are, and will be in-demand and how they go about building them - Future focussed skill development is key!
It goes without saying that if we improve these, we also tackle the dire skill shortage and increase the volume of future talent for Welsh organisations.
We envisage "Skill Bursts" to be a solution that provides a microlearning experience that helps learners acquire new skills or improve existing ones, and can understand their place in the labour market.
We are faced with creating a digital solution that addresses the problem statements identified in our Audience Discovery Phase, which took place during spring and summer 2023, where we conducted research and interviews with young adult learners, employers, stakeholders and educators.
From the Audience Discovery Phase we were able to understand the pain point's each segment were facing and what they were using, if anything, as a solution.
The problem statements led us to consider:
🤔 How might we help learners discover their skills gaps and learning needs?
🤔How might we motivate learners to engage in skill bursts and complete them?
🤔How might we provide learners with feedback and recognition for their skill bursts achievements?
🤔How might we connect learners with relevant opportunities that match their skills and interests, at the right time?
We can assume the solution should have the following parameters:
💡It has to be digital, so that it could be accessible, scalable, and adaptable.
💡It has to have progressing skill-based microlearning, so that learners could learn at their own pace and level.
💡It has to have a clear assessment method, so that learners could measure their progress and outcomes.
💡It has to adopt gamification mechanics, so that learners could enjoy the learning process and be rewarded for their efforts.
Our innovation day was the first step in creating a solution, utilising the brilliance in the room to co-produce a proposal for a solution, through ideation to presentation.
We divided the participants into three groups, ensuring that each group had a mix of skills, knowledge, and experience. The groups included tech experts, tech students, stakeholders from earlier activities, employers, educators, adult learning providers, creatives, and game designers.
We also had stakeholders and experts who circulated and contributed to the groups, such as FE college leaders, business leaders, senior recruiters, AI innovators, and university leaders. The purpose was to spread their insights and perspectives across all groups.
The day started with sharing the learnings, anecdotal testimonies, and problem statements we gathered from our extended Audience Discovery Phase. This set the scene, brought the problem to solve front and centre and provide context for the challenge. With minimal instruction then asked each group to consider ideas for a possible solution, they used various tools and techniques, such as mind maps, sticky notes, and sketches.
Throughout the day, we also had speakers delivering 10-minute expert keynotes on topics related to the challenge, such as findings from the Audience Discovery, Learning and Assessment, Gamification in Learning, AI in Learning and Assessment, and Neuro Diversity and Digital Platforms.
We asked the groups to further develop their proposals applying the latest research and best practices from the key notes, and demonstrate how the solution would work and how it would address the problem statements and fit within the parameters.
At the end of the day, each group presented their proposal to the rest of the participants, stakeholders. and an expert panel of judges. The judges also provided constructive feedback and teased out further thoughts on the user journey.
The Next Steps
We were so impressed by the creativity and innovation of the participants, and we are grateful for their valuable contributions.
We are planning to take elements from all 3 proposals, and combine them into a demo that in true co-production style will meet the needs of multiple stakeholders; it will embrace gamification elements, such as badges, leaderboards, and challenges, to motivate and reward learners, we'll consider the concept of mentoring, and the nuance of connecting learners with relevant opportunities, such as tutorials, courses, and experiences based on their skills and interests.
In Spring 2024 we aim to test the demo with Gen Z learners that we'll access through our stakeholders, to gain further feedback and suggestions for iterations.
We are just beginning! Testing and iterating a digital solution will take time, and the more input we can get at an early stage the more accurate a solution we can build. If you want to be part of the journey please reach out, we are open and keen to work with stakeholders in this space.
Thank you partners
A big thank you to Stable, Oh Blimey, and Ufi; our visionary partners, for your support in this exploration into 'Skill Bursts', your collective expertise and passion has made this journey possible.
Gem Hallett, miFuture Founder
miFuture.co.uk | @miFutureSkills