Community colleges across the United States face a similar problem ― ensuring the courses offered align with the needs of the workforce. Employers agree that job-specific qualifications are an important part of the hiring process, but report that candidates are missing the kinds of business-critical soft skills that are not always taught in school.
SBCC’s Career Skills Institute developed a flipped classroom model to build out more than 40 short courses that leveraged content available on Lynda.com. For each course, instructors curate a playlist of educational videos that students watch prior to attending class.
“This approach allows for the kind of flexibility that adult learners need, since many of them are employed full time,” Moreno said.
Once in class, students spend their time using the skills learned through Lynda.com to work through real-world workplace challenges to further develop their abilities. At the end of each course, students complete a capstone or portfolio project to demonstrate his or her proficiency in the
Before sending students to employers, the Career Skills Institute provides many of them with a digital badge, issued through Credly’s Acclaim platform. These badges can be shared anywhere online that a student would like, such as LinkedIn, or in an email signature. An employer can click on the badge to view the full context of the course and related skills and know it is verified.
“We currently offer badges for over 40 of our soft skills courses,” Moreno explained. “It’s our goal to offer more in the future, because the badge really is the right way for our students to communicate to employers what they’ve learned and how they’ve demonstrated proficiency.”
“It’s our goal to offer more in the future, because the badge really is the right way for our students to communicate to employers what they’ve learned and how they’ve demonstrated proficiency.”
In the first two semesters of this new program, SBCC issued 72 badges to 35 students. “The fact that students are earning multiple badges means that the Career Skills Institute is providing content that is stackable,” Moreno said. “Skills are building on skills and by representing them with badges, our students can align what they learn through our courses with other forms of learning, credentials, and professional experience to build a more complete picture for employers.”
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