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Micro-skill building and open learning

Micro-skills would teach students students hard skills and soft skills in "STEAM" (Science, technology, education, arts and mathematics, and would be able to be built into larger disciplines or combined across disciplines in support of new entrepreneurial ventures. Micro-skills would be a combination of offline and online learning that would allow young people to train themselves in new skills across a variety of disciplines as a supplement to or instead of the more timely and expensive higher learning opportunities. These skills could be based out of community centres and workshops, where tools and materials would be available for a small fee. Supplementary online classes would allow students to advance at their own pace.

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In this day and age, young people need a variety of cross-disciplinary skill sets to succeed. Many current formal educational opportunities require a huge investment of time and/or money, creating large opportunity costs for youth and making it hard to find skilled workers in specific areas. MOOCs offer an enticing alternative to learning on the go, but have some limitations in terms of more technical skill building.

Micro-skills would be buildable, and could be acquired like badges. Youth would create their own blend of learning opportunities based on their interests and needs, allowing them to remix divergent ideas. Each micro-skill would be certified, allowing for more formal recognition of learning if the youth wanted to seek out traditional job opportunities, or to allow them to move on to different opportunities.

By partnering with community spaces (maker spaces or libraries perhaps?), it would minimize the barriers needed to access the tools necessary for certain skills (such as making a bicycle or building a rooftop garden, or even programming a robot), and would create the personal linkages and mentoring environment that continue to make in-person learning so appealing. 

Micro-skills would also be able to be completed at a student's own pace.

The result would be young people who are equipped with a variety of both theoretical and hard-skills for seeking employment or making their own. They would be able to change industries more quickly than current opportunities would allow due to the potential speed at which they could train.

Who does this idea benefit, who are the main players and what's in it for them?

This would benefit youth and employers primarily. Such a program might be sponsored by certain corporations seeking to quickly improve their workforce at a low-cost.

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to receive from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

Please feel free to comment, add and remix this.

The idea emerged from:

  • An individual

How do you envision your idea being implemented?

  • I'm more throwing the idea out there to inspire potential implementers

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Hi Katie, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story with higher impact. You should be able to use the Update Entry button on the right of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. We know occasionally people have issues uploading images so let us know by hitting the Feedback button at the bottom of most pages of our site if you face any problems. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.

And here's some tips on adding visual goodness to your idea: http://ideo.pn/vis-uals plus more on evolving your thought-starter: http://ideo.pn/oi-evolve