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skills for the 21st century

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Digital Learning for 21st Century Employability Skills
PROJECT-PROPOSAL FOR THE MAGHREB COUNTRIES
Mohammed Hassim,
ELT Supervisor at the Ministry of National Education, Sous Massa Draa Academy,
Taroudant Delegation, Morocco
[email protected]
Dr Endrit Kromidha
Fellow of the Centre for Distance Education and Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Royal Holloway, University of London
[email protected]
Problem:
Employers in Maghreb, especially those in dynamic international sectors such as offshoring, energy,
technology and tourism, say graduates in the Maghreb leave University and arrive at work without
the skills for 21st Century workplaces.
The team challenge
Develop an online tool called ‘Skills for 21st century’ which will offer a digital solution direct to
students while at University, but will operate outside and beyond their university settings. What will
this look like and how could it be used with students?
Proposed solution
A multi-actor collaborative platform will be designed for the development of the following 21st
Century Skills through online educational resources and partnerships with public, private and civil
society stakeholders. The aims of this solution are to

provide a well-structured platform that provide materials, activities and courses within an
independent self-regulated context;

guide participants through a course of development that lead to a basic mastery of 21st
Century Skills;

combine efforts with partners and sponsors to offer necessary tools and facilities to achieve
the goals of the project.
The 7Cs of 21st century skills as introduced by Bernie Trilling & Charles Fadel (21st Century Skills:
Learning for Life in Our Times, Jossey-Bass, 2009) will be adopted as a framework. Participants
should show evidence of their mastery of each of the Cs and will be given ‘Digital Badges’ rewarding
their efforts as shown in the table below. This will give the participants a sense of achievement and
hence foster their intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
21ST CENTURY SKILLS
LOGO
1. Critical thinking & Problem-solving
research; analysis; synthesis; project management, etc.
2. Creativity & Innovation
new knowledge creation; design solutions; artful storytelling, etc.
3. Collaboration, Teamwork & Leadership
cooperation; compromise; consensus; community-building, etc.
4. Cross-cultural Understanding
diverse ethnic flexibility; organisational cultures awareness, etc.
5. Communication & Media Fluency
crafting and analysing messages; using different types of media, etc.
6. Computing & ICT Fluency
effective use of electronic information and knowledge tools.
7. Career & Learning Self-reliance
managing change, lifelong learning, career redefinition, etc.
A website or online learning management system (LMS) through Moodle will be constructed for this
purpose (see the sample website presented during the Maghreb conference in Tunis:
http://maghreb21cskills.wix.com/employabilityskills). This will contain a myriad of materials and
activities that will revolve around the 7Cs and will enable the participants to gain basics of 21st
century skills and show a minimum mastery of those skills. The materials provided through the
website/LMS will cover the 7Cs in a balanced way and the participants should show they have
tackled each of them which will lead them to gaining ‘digital badges’ after completing certain tasks
and meeting pre-defined requirements related to each of the 7Cs. The platform will provide
participants with materials, sample/model documents, free online courses (MOOCs and Coursera)
and self-assessment tools that will allow them to successfully gain the required soft skills and hence
enable them later to easily integrate and function well in the 21st century job market/
entrepreneurship.
To keep our proposed solution cost effective, online free services will be resorted to, like open
source management systems (e.g. Moodle), free online courses (e.g. MOOCs and Coursera), free
materials from universities and specialised institutions, etc.
In addition, partnerships can be sought with sponsors/partners and institutions that are interested in
the project. The following section outlines engagement with key organisational stakeholders and the
nature of partnerships that are essential for the transfer of skills from theory to practice.
Stakeholder engagement
Strong network partnerships with universities, government, NGOs, and business corporates for the
development, accreditation and use of skills are at the core of this project, keeping the 21st Century
learner at the center as summarized in the following diagram:
CORPORATE
UNIVERSITY
internships, jobs, analytics support,
mentorships, sponsorships,
simulations, acreditation
open education resources, premises,
tutors, virtual learning environment
support, intermediation, acreditation
21ST CENTURY LEARNER
learn, work, volunteer,
share, network
NGOs and CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT
sensibilitation, community centres,
project collaboration, training
support, intermediation, acreditation
entrepreneurship support,
internships, jobs, scholarships,
intermediation, acreditation
Project management methodology
An agile methodology is planned to be used for this project, emphasising empirical feedback and
team self-management while striving to build a self-sustained platform by developing and testing its
different components in a number of short iterations. The following table gives a general overview
of the work packages and stages of this project.
Work breakdown structure and timeline
Q2/15
1. PREPARATION
Design a web platform model
Identify organisational stakeholders
Assemble the project management team
2. RESEARCH
Analyse soft skills needed in job markets
Assess existing training options on skills
Evaluate gaps in learners’ qualification
3. DESIGN LEARNING CONTENT
Assess open educational resources
Assemble educational team
Design 21st century curricula
4. ENRICH LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Embed learning analytics
Embed gamification options
Coordinate online social networking
5. FORM STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS
Embed skills in university curricula
Partners with NGOs for skills’ delivery
Receive policy support from government
Assure recognition from the job market
6. EVALUATION AND REPORTING
Write final project report
Document lessons learned
Disseminate findings
7. DESIGN A SELF SUSTAINED MODEL
Q3/15
Q4/15
Q1/16
Q2/16
Q3/16+
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