Clare Hill ~ Learning Designer
Let’s face it, we’d all secretly like to have a superpower but do we really need one? We already have the capacity to learn how to do something and practise to get better, and in doing so we develop skills. We have all been developing a variety of skills to varying levels throughout our lives and we’ll go on doing it. Our capacity for developing skills is limitless – skills are our superpowers!
Open University students have the opportunity to learn many new skills during their study journey, which could help them to study better, create career opportunities, and support them in other areas of their life. We know that the development of certain skills could benefit our mental health. Some might help us to close the awarding gaps. Many help to build students’ confidence in study. The impact of active skills development carries through into the workplace too, with better skilled teams supporting each other, the businesses they work for, and the UK economy.
The importance of skills development can’t be underestimated and consequently many of the skills OU students develop are carefully planned into module design. In the Learning Design team, we help module teams to consider Employability, Digital Information and Literacy, sustainability, and study skills in the early design phase of module development, notably in Student Learning Journey or Student Experience sessions. Along with Digital Development Editors, Career and Employability Consultants and Learning and Teaching Librarians, we support module teams to plan skills development across a module and create activities to help students to develop skills in a well-scaffolded and visible way. By the end of a module, students will be able to recognise and articulate the skills they’ve learned.
Take some time to reflect on what we’ve all learned over our lifetimes and how we’ve expanded both our skillset and level of skill over time. In my case, from learning to read as a child to complex analysis of language today (yes, I’m an OU student!). Isn’t it empowering to know that when we set our mind to something and find the right support and guidance, we can develop almost any skill!