Making Skills Visible for Students and Teachers

Based at Lenape Technical School, in Ford City, Pennsylvania, Adult Education coordinator Kelly Kirsch is the kind of instructor who always wants to improve her classes, even when students are responding well to the existing curriculum.

Kelly teaches a class on Workplace Culture and Environment, and came to the Personal and Workplace Success Skills Library library to “reevaluate my curriculum and make sure it is on track with the outcomes I am trying to attain.”

She explored the library to find up-to-date resources that would equip students with relevant success skills, and also provide tangible validation of those skills. Kelly chose Learn to Earn, in part because it includes digital badges to help students demonstrate their skills on resumes and in interviews. Kelly also integrated GCFLearnFree lessons to help build interview skills, and to provide optional extended learning for students wishing to continue building their skills.

A goal of the class is to build workplace preparation skills, while also helping students recognize the transferable skills they already have. Because students in this class are commonly switching industries and careers (such as moving from grocery store clerk to phlebotomist), they need to be aware of their transferable skills so that they can describe them in job interviews and use them at their new jobs.

One student reflected that completing the Learn to Earn lessons “helped me to realize some of the skills I did not know I had,” while another noted that the skills learned will “help me in my future to find and succeed at new jobs.”

Students also found that the lessons and scenarios helped them to better understand workplace behaviors and how to communicate with coworkers in their current and future workplaces. Almost all students shared that the Learn to Earn digital badges will improve their resumes and Indeed and LinkedIn profiles while building their confidence when applying for jobs.

Typically, Kelly invites a panel of employers to conduct practice interviews with students. When she had to cancel the panel because of COVID-19, she turned to the GCFLearnFree Interviewing Skills lesson. By completing the online lesson, students reinforce what they had learned in class, and by completing the quiz, they demonstrate to themselves and to Kelly how well they understood the concepts. Several students were to complete additional GCFLearnFree lessons, identifying lessons that met their interests and needs.

Kelly will continue to tweak her curriculum in response to what students find most valuable about the class, and the Learn to Earn and GCFLearnFree resources. In addition to enhancing student resumes and profiles, the badges and quizzes give Kelly assurance that students are learning the skills that she knows are essential for their workplace and personal success.

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