Designing and Scaling a Differentiated Learning Experience: A Focus on Skills & Careers

Concurrent Session 9

Brief Abstract

How do you design and implement a skills-aligned (mapped to outcome) ecosystem that is not only meaningful to students, but also understood and supported across the university?  This session focuses on how to create a learning experience that equips and prepares students for today’s in-demand skills-based economy.


Mary Elizabeth's career in education spans twenty-five years. She transitioned an on-campus course to online in 1998 and has been either teaching online or working in online learning roles ever since. She possesses strong skills in the strategic development and implementation of educational services for diverse client base. She is especially interested in growth mindset, weaving non-cognitive skills throughout a curriculum, and skills-based education. She has keen sense of humor and not-so-great singing skills.

Extended Abstract

Curriculum, especially when mapped to in-demand jobs skills, serves as the foundation for an impactful student experience that socializes learners to the importance of job ready skills, and current and future career choices.  It can also support learner confidence in knowing that the decision to dedicate themselves to degree will have a return on investment, even while still progressing through a degree program. 

Ask yourself some of these questions related to your institution’s learner experience.

  • Can students identify the specific skills they are acquiring throughout their educational journey?
  • Are students aware of the employment opportunities their academic program affords?
  • Is the university utilizing tools to engage students, such as digital badging, that help them showcase their skills to a wide audience, thereby gaining self-validation, confidence, and organic networking opportunities?
  • Are all institutional groups, such as Colleges, Faculty, Assessment, Student Services, etc., aligned and acting upon the learner experience?

The career-focused learning experience at our institutions starts when a student selects a skill-aligned program and then continues repetitively throughout each course – completing skill-aligned assessments, building a portfolio of employer-worthy deliverables, engaging in career resources, earning skill badges, tracking current earned skills, reviewing upcoming course skills – and ends with Career Services for Life.

This session will provide examples of how developed a skills-aligned curriculum map for all programs, and then made it evident to learners that they are engaged in a career and skills-aligned education, how we leverage all units throughout the university to support a career and skill learning experience, and how to support a curriculum vision accross university stakeholders. 

Attendees will engage in several polls and collaborative activities to begin to ideate on designing and supporting a holistic, career-infused student experience.