“Few educational interventions can match the power of active learning when it comes to improving student academic outcomes. Researchers have consistently found that higher student achievement and engagement are associated with instructional methods involving active learning techniques.”
New knowledge about how people learn has evolved learning design beyond the standard educational experience of strictly listening to an instructor and taking notes. NuPaths’ students are active participants in their learning through individualized learning, small group interactions, hands-on practice, and personalized learning, with the instructor serving as guide and mentor as well as a subject matter expert.
You’ll start off each course with a practice exam that informs you and the instructor about where your knowledge and skill gaps are as you begin the course. Then, you and the instructor can focus on reducing the specific gaps in knowledge and skills throughout the course as well as strengthening foundational knowledge and skills in the Active Learning RotationsTM.
Active Learning RotationsTM
Individualized learning may consist of self-paced online learning, individual study and reflection, or individual practice. Individualized learning is used to:
- Close individual learning gaps
- Build confidence in students
- Increase engagement
- Enable students to work at their own pace
Group learning may consist of group study, group projects or group practice. In the group learning rotation, each member of the group plays a specific role in completing the group learning objective.
Students working in groups show increased individual achievement compared to students working alone and group work enhances communication and other professional development skills that prepare students for the workplace.
–The Teaching Center, Washington University in St. Louis
The instructor is engaged with students as part of their individualized and group learning activities, but the instructor-led rotation focuses on student and instructor interaction. Instructor-led activities may consist of presentation, questions, scenarios, case studies or content creation.
There are a number of benefits to small group instruction.
- Small group instruction allows the instructor to focus on specific concepts and objectives.
- A smaller student-teacher ratio allows the instructor to connect with individual students, reinforce concepts and assess comprehension in an ongoing dialogue with the students.
- Small-group instruction is ideal for providing frequent and personalized feedback. There is more time for students to ask questions, and the teacher can encourage peer feedback in addition to instructor feedback.
Level Up Workshops
While technical skills prepare you for the occupational tasks of a job role, there’s more to a successful career than knowing the technology and how the technology supports the business strategy. Soft skills are the skills and competencies that allow people to interact effectively and productively; skills like collaboration, communication skills, emotional intelligence, and time management.
Soft skills are what separate average performers from high performers and career struggles from career sustainability. Employers look for a balance of hard and soft skills when they make hiring decisions.
Standford Research Institute International reports that 75% of long term job success depends on soft skills mastery and only 25% on technical skills.
A survey of USA companies found that miscommunication costs businesses with up to 100 staff an average of US$420,000 per year.
–The Conversation US, Inc.
According to a Wall Street Journal study, employers express high demand for communication, organization, teamwork, punctuality, critical thinking, social, creativity, and adaptability skills in addition to occupational skills.
Below are workshop topics that NuPaths has identified as critical skills for entry into the IT job market and sustained career success. In addition to level up workshops, NuPaths supports the development of soft skills in its occupation-focused courses through self-directed learning, teamwork, and small group collaboration and communication in the Active Learning RotationsTM format.
The saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” still rings true. (Although you need to know things too.) You can enhance your career success with successful networking strategies and techniques. You’ll align face-to-face and virtual networking strategies with your personality, knowledge, and career goals.
Social media is a tool for personal communication, but it’s also a key resource for promoting your skills as a potential employee and IT professional. Some of the same tools used for personal communication are used for professional communication too. However, inappropriate social media use can also damage your career. You’ll explore the use of social media for career success and avoiding social media career pitfalls.
Résumé and Cover Letter Writing
The résumé and cover letter are often the key to open the door to an organization and job opportunity. However, Human Resources Associates and hiring managers can receive hundreds of résumés and cover letters for a single open position. You’ll learn techniques for helping your résumé and cover letter stand out.
The interview is your chance to make a connection with the employer and stand out from the crowd. From how you dress for the interview to how you leave the building; it all matters in the interview. You’ll practice interviewing techniques and skills with peer and instructor feedback.
Emotional Intelligence (EI) and Mindfulness
The ability to be aware of, control, and express your emotions, and successfully manage interpersonal relationships with others as a result, is emotional intelligence (EI). EI can lead you to a state of mindfulness that allows you to increase being present in the moment. Emotional intelligence (EI) and mindfulness can give you a real advantage in today’s competitive work environment by helping you improve your critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills. You’ll consider your personal approach to EI and mindfulness and how new techniques can help you reach your full potential.
Clear, concise, and appropriate communication is key to your long-term career success. Good communication skills, including listening skills, are a desired skill by employers and can set you apart from other candidates for a position. Your ability to communicate is a skill that will also have a great impact on your long-term career success. You’ll practice verbal communication skills for a variety of scenarios and mediums.
Much of what we communicate is through our non-verbal mannerisms. Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages, indicates that 7% of any message is conveyed through words, 38% through certain vocal elements, and 55% through nonverbal elements (facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc). Nonverbal communication is often the most critical component of effective communication. You’ll identify nonverbal cues in others, become aware of your own nonverbal communication, and conduct purposeful nonverbal communication.
Email and text messaging are the most common forms of written communication today. Being able to effectively communicate via these new mediums is a skill that can set you apart from other employees. You’ll analyze email and text messaging best practices for business and identify common mistakes to avoid.
Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
Negotiation and conflict resolution are skills that you’ll use almost daily in your professional career. In fact, almost every transaction with another individual involves negotiation. While conflict is often viewed as something to be avoided, progress is often fueled by conflict. However, resolving that conflict within the context of effective negotiation and communication allows individuals and businesses to move beyond conflicting views to a shared vision of the future. You will examine negotiation and conflict resolution strategies that are effective as well as those that are not.
Overcoming IT Stereotypes
Today’s successful information technology professionals are creative, business-savvy, and flexible. Information technology is now a primary focus of business operations and requires individuals with multifaceted skillsets. Being a GEEK is now COOL! But, that wasn’t always the case. There are over 40 years of information technology stereotypes that have the potential to negatively impact working relationships with other departments, diversity and inclusion, and business strategies. You’ll become aware of how the history of information technology as a profession is changing and needs to continue to change for businesses, and information technology as a profession, to thrive in the global, digital age.
NuPaths courses and Active Learning RotationsTM emphasize hands-on learning. You will explore key concepts by applying strategies and techniques to solve problems. And, you’ll conclude your concentration on a specific information technology (IT) role with a capstone project that requires you to apply your new skills to a business scenario.
NuPaths connects to business, technology, education, and government partners for insight into the information technology (IT) skills that their employees need. These same partners also offer their expertise to mentor students in their capstone projects, Level Up Workshops and career exploration.
NuPaths works with school districts, businesses and organizations to bring role-focused, information technology (IT) education to your location.