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Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
Thursday, 26/Oct/2017:

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Progress in Canada: Toward an 'Internet of Skills'

Jeff Griffiths

Griffiths Sheppard Consulting Group Inc, Canada

Canada has a workforce development problem.

While we have one of the best credentialed adult populations on planet, we still have significant mismatches in the economy, resulting in “people without jobs, and jobs without people”. Recognizing learning that takes place outside of formal educational structures is virtually non-existent. For an individual, tracing a learning pathway from their current skills and competencies to economic opportunities (ie, jobs) is difficult if not impossible. While our country encourages immigration (targeted immigration levels are being raised to around 300,000 per year) – and yet we have over half a million immigrants in Canada who cannot work in their field because their credentials are not recognized.

The Open Recognition declaration and open badges are useful tools for workforce development, but in Canada there are noticeable and significant limitations. While there are currently over 10 million digital/open badges in existence around the world, but they are not linked to each other or to the economy in a cohesive and coherent manner, and as such recognition is haphazard, and they aren’t able to fulfill the promise of providing a passport to greater economic mobility for individuals, nor are they helping to streamline the recruiting and employee development practices for employers or guide curriculum development activities of educators and training providers.

The piece that seems to be missing, at least here in Canada, is a robust and comprehensive national skills/competency/qualification framework that would provide a mechanism for linking badges to the economy, as well as guiding the development of new badges and micro-credentialing. We believe there’s a real need to put the “voice of the customer” into the badging discussion by engaging industry/employers in creating the competency definitions that will guide development of badges in future.

Three research papers were published by the Canada West Foundation to explore these concepts: Competence is the Best Credential (April 2015) explored the need for Canada to do a better job of recognizing the things people can actually do rather than using formal education as a proxy for capability. Building Blocks (December 2015) explored the concept of modular, stackable, competency-based credentials for skilled trades, arguing that it had the potential to accelerate learning and provide greater worker mobility in a rapidly changing economy. Finally, Matchup (February 2017) presented a case for creating a comprehensive national competency framework for Canada.

Since then, the movement has built momentum, and efforts are underway to create the protocols that will govern the framework, with the belief that these protocols could be followed in an open source approach that would ultimately lead to an organic, self-populating, global, “internet of skills”. This presentation focuses on recent activities on the initiative, and invites a dialogue around these concepts.

Through an interactive process with delegates, we want to look at a number of questions:

  1. Is there value in creating a global protocol for the frameworks that need to inform the competencies represented by badging?
  2. Is there already work underway elsewhere that the Canadian initiative can link to?
  3. How are other jurisdictions getting the “voice of the economy” into the development of open badging, open credentialing and alternative credentialing practices?
  4. What are the advantages? Pitfalls? Roadblocks? Is there a “best place” (ie, industry, level, sector, type of competency, etc) to start the initiative?

The presentation will reveal the current state of developments in Canada, with specific details, recommendations and action plans that were developed during a number of forums, workshops and meetings held throughout 2017.

Tools of Engagement Project (TOEP): Equipping All Learners with 21st-Century Skills

Roberta {Robin} Sullivan

State University of New York at Buffalo

The State University of New York Tools of Engagement Project (TOEP) < http://suny.edu/toep > is a flipped professional development model that encourages faculty to explore and reflect on innovative and creative uses of emerging technologies through hands-on discovery activities. TOEP promotes lifelong learning in a digital world and provides a focused venue to experiment with the constantly evolving landscape of social-media and the latest web-based technology tools.

TOEP is not traditional professional development but instead provides online access to resources for instructors to explore at their own pace through a set of hands-on, discovery activities. After participants explore a section and complete one of the activities they are prompted to reflect on their learning by posting about their experiences within a connected private social-network community. This avenue for peer support and inter-campus collaboration has resulted in a robust dialog about how the application of new tools can be used to help facilitate communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. This learning environment empowers faculty to master new technologies and helps them transfer knowledge to their students about how to effectively work with new communication and collaboration technologies.

Digital badges and other professional development award incentives are used to provide motivation for participants and complete the project requirements. Awards are issued through a peer-review process to community members who share the most innovative use of TOEP tools and who provide optimal levels of peer support within the online social network community. Results from recent analysis of the online community postings has shown that many participants report vicarious learning through the experiences of others in the community.

This cross-campus collaborative project has just completed its fifth year as faculty professional development. New grant funding has just been awarded to transform this successful system into a MOOC based on the TOEP model which will be targeted to all learners. The future of this innovative professional development model will target the needs of faculty, students, and professionals alike to provide 21st-century skills which are necessary for today’s society. This session will provide an overview of the project’s history and a look into how future iterations of this project will take shape.

Digital Badges for Workforce Development

Kathleen Radionoff

Madison Area Technical College, United States of America

Digital Badges for Workforce Development

Madison College has one of the oldest badging program in the United States. Launched in 2012, the college’s School of Professional and Continuing Education has awarded over 3000 badges to both credit and noncredit students. This presentation will have examples of badges developed and awarded to young students preparing for a career in healthcare, incumbent working adults who seek out noncredit training opportunities for the purpose of upskilling, and customized training provided to employers and their workforce.

Practical tips on how to launch a successful badging program will be shared as well as issues that occurred that were not anticipated. In addition to the sharing of best practices, new research will be shared on the use of badges.

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