Recent Developments.

  • Explosive growth in online learning platforms: $107 Billion in 2015.
  • Common consensus that there is a skills gap. Experts predict that it widens due to a demand for highly technical skills: 39% of US employers had difficulty filling jobs due to lack of talent.
  • To address the skills gap, there are new programs to build skills more effectively and efficiently. There are now 'coding camps'. Apprenticeships and certifications are much more common in the US.
  • CommonCore is making headway.It creates transparency with learning expectations in K-12 (much of it is based on skills). Forty-five states have officially adopted the standards.
  • Gamification - a fun way of building skills- is much more common in classrooms and offices alike: $2 billion in 2015.
  • Students and professionals are using digital badges to validate their skills.
  • Performance reviews are becoming more complex as employers are expected to invest in their employees. Perfect time to apply Skills-Based Approach
  • Personal branding is essential because everyone has an online presence. A skill set represents an individual's functional value in this personal branding model.

Ways to make Skills-Based Approach more effective.

Skills sets are currently being utilized in many web services; however, their usage could be more effective if certain actions were taken. It would be easier to apply the skills based approach as well.

Course listings at university and colleges explicitly mention what skills are being taught in every course. It makes sense that when you take a course, you know precisely what skills you are going to learn. This is especially important when you are learning transferable skills such as writing, research and analysis, or computation thinking. For example, you should present skills learned in math classes while working towards a computer science degree (computational thinking) or skills learned in a humanities class (writing and research). The cost of education is increasing rapidly, so students should efficiently plan every course – each course should develop a skill on their desired skill set. Some colleges are known for churning out liberal arts degrees and it makes sense to teach students transferable skills that can be utilized across disciplines. Although, this concept would be more effective if the students know exactly what skills that they are learning – so they can plan, build, and present them.

There is a universal list of skills with definitions (that are published to the end-user).There needs to be a list of skills professionals can access to understand the meaning of a skill and any nuances between one skill over another. For example, it is not clear the difference between the skills of website design and website development. A universal list of skills also makes sense for recruiters searching on skills; they need to be confident that their search results encompass the right pool of candidates.

Providers of skills lists agree with a universal method of assigning skills.There are two barriers with the current implementations of assigning skills. First, there is no clear way to handle specific technologies. For example, in LinkedIn you list HTML as a skill but in other platforms the skill is web design and HTML is a programming language. Second, there should be delineation between assigning “transferable skills” and “technical skills”.

The demand for skills should be tracked. Rapid changes in technology and demographics are affecting the responsibilities for different careers, professionals have to adapt and retool their skill sets to accommodate these changes. Therefore, it makes sense to publish the future demand for skills. Professionals can better anticipate and plan to build an expertise with skills needed for their career; they can also target developing a skill set that will be in high demand and increase their chances of landing an opportunity.

Skills sets can be ported from one platform to another. Currently, it is a requirement to maintain a skill set on different platforms because each of them is proprietary. The main disadvantage is redundancy and inefficiency. It would be ideal to build one skill set list that can be effectively used across platforms.