Future work skills response: a teaching transformation using agility and evidence

Hilary Collins*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Employers are faced with multiple challenges in the workplace, managing and resolving complex problems in the context of a rapidly changing world. As the workplace, and the nature of work becomes more uncertain, we need to develop a rich and diverse skill set amongst employees, to enable them to effectively engage with these challenges.
Universities have recently positioned themselves in competitive markets, via a variety of selling points including employability, or cost-effective quality provision. These economic strategies have accompanied recent expansions in online delivery options facilitated through technological enhancements. New media platforms and ‘marketised’ ideas for delivering pedagogy and assessments have resulted in a proliferation of digital equivalence ‘solutions’ to traditional face-to-face or blended teaching approaches. This process was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic which forced university teaching academics to produce online provisions for existing degree curriculum. However, the response to employers and employees’ needs for digital transformation has been slower, mainly because the impact on work skills requirements for the future, post pandemic, was unclear as organisations fought for survival in these turbulent times.
We describe how a leading blended learning university, reputed for large scale generic course, responded to this need by supporting an in-house project team to develop a range of bespoke online short courses. We detail the learning design approach, accommodating the constraints COVID-19 had on face-to-face meetings while applying both design and systems thinking. The team developed online creative workshops with industry stakeholders to uncover the work skills deficit and leveraged this learning to co-create, develop, and launch online short courses which responded to employers’ specific skills development needs. The paper contributes to teaching and digital transformation by illustrating a holistic learning design process using a combination of design and systems thinking providing an enhanced user experience design in a digital environment.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalStudies in Technology Enhanced Learning
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2023


  • digital transformation
  • online course development
  • design thinking
  • systems thinking


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