September 15, 2020 by Remie Verougstraete
Among policymakers and business leaders alike, the shift towards a skill-based economy is in full swing. At Emsi, we’re using our open skills library to help higher education embrace and even champion this shift by translating course content into the shared language of the labor market: skills.
We’ve recently had the privilege of facilitating this transformation for Purdue University Global (PG), one of the leading online institutions serving today’s working adult learner. “We’re proud to be working with innovators like Purdue Global to make skills-based higher education a reality,” said Luke Jankovic, EVP of Higher Education at Emsi.
We asked PG to share their perspective on the impact that this pivot to skill-based program review and student engagement has had. Read below to see what they had to say, and let us know if you’d like to learn more about leveraging the language of skills to improve your institution’s value, relevance, and future.
Since its creation in 2018 – following Purdue University’s acquisition of Kaplan University – Purdue University Global has positioned itself as one of the leading institutions for delivering personalized online education tailored to the unique needs of adults who have work or life experience beyond the classroom.
This is achieved through a set of key practices that drive our success. For example, Purdue Global (PG) courses are developed with the idea of future-market driven curriculum founded in the needs of the workplace. Learning activities and assessments are rooted in the day-to-day work of a practitioner in the field. Feedback and input is received from employers and advisory boards – with a three-year program review cycle – with a keen eye on the needs of the workforce of the future to create and build curriculum that prepares workers for the next step in their career.
By translating our courses into the language of the labor market and engaging lifelong learners with skill-based education and work recommendations, Purdue Global is uniquely equipped to help meet students where they are, in terms of their prior learning and where they want to be. PG can now connect their education (what’s taught) to workforce needs (what’s sought) like never before.
“As I read and listen to the higher education landscape, it has quickly become clear to me that a change is afoot. And innovative universities will learn how to recognize the learning associated with professional skills.” – Dr. Frank Dooley, Purdue Global Chancellor
To expand on this, Purdue Global is working with Emsi to be one of the first institutions to “skillify” its entire curriculum: in other words, to map its course outcomes entirely to the language of the labor market. PG and Emsi are doing this in such a way as to maintain a line of sight into changes in the skill needs of employers, and to be able to quickly revise and update curriculum “in real time,” so that graduates can be best positioned with the skills they need to get the jobs they seek today.
In addition to the “hard skills” we’re mapping in this way, we also boast a robust and comprehensive assessment system for the “soft skills,” which we call the Professional Skills, and which are embedded throughout every course in our curriculum. So, in addition to ensuring our students can get the job, we make sure they are able to excel at that job, and be prepared for all those that may come after it.
As of this summer, 100% of PG courses have been “skillified” and we are now beginning the exciting work of digging into how the skills we teach align with the skills employers are seeking. Additionally, we are using Emsi’s SkillsMatch platform to surface the skill content of our courses to prospective students, so they can find the right educational offering based on the specific skills they need to achieve their goals.
Dr. Frank Dooley, Chancellor of Purdue Global, had this to say about our recent work: “As I read and listen to the higher education landscape, it has quickly become clear to me that a change is afoot. And innovative universities will learn how to recognize the learning associated with professional skills. ”
Overall, adopting the common language of skills is helping Purdue Global close the gap between education and employment. In partnership with Emsi, we’re excited to continue leveraging this new level of skill-specific insight to drive exceptional outcomes for online learners and working adults.
For questions about PG’s skills mapping initiative, please contact Tom Schott, Senior Director of Strategic Communications at Purdue Global. For questions about Emsi’s skill-based solutions for colleges and universities, please contact Ashley Safranski, Director of Marketing for higher education at Emsi.
Ready to learn how Emsi can help you map curriculum to work-relevant skills? Fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon!