The VAKEN approach
Training and assessment of soft skills in real-life context with guidance from coaches, and in collaboration with companies.
VAKEN is working on a process that enables training and assessment of soft skills in real-life context with guidance from coaches and in collaboration with companies.
The process is ready and has undergone initial tests, and is now publicly available for everyone to use.
Creativity is closely related to skills or traits like curiosity, being brave, intuition, innovativeness, inquiry and openness. Creativity can result in innovations if the ideas the ideas can be, in the process, transformed to concrete and solutions that solve problems in the real world. Creativity is a highly important skill in life helping to turn new and imaginative ideas into reality.
Critical thinking is a questioning, challenging approach to knowledge and perceived wisdom and it is the ability to comprehend, analyse and evaluate various information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action and helps to draw make conclusions. It is said, that critical thinkers make the best choices.
Complex problem solving helps to define the problem, to identify various solutions and to evaluate them, to set the goal, to choose a plan how to achieve it and to implement the idea. Complex problem solving helps to define a problem (to set the goal), to identify various solutions and evaluate possible scenarios, to choose a step-by-step plan and implement the idea to have the problem solved.
Personal leadership is often evaluated as a term of personal motivation or direction of a life to achieve higher goals and establishment high self-standards. Personal leadership represents a behaviour of leaders and their influence on individuals, that based on expertise, trust, caring, sharing and morals. It makes a person feel responsible, organised and accountable to the goals he or she set
VAKEN suggests a pedagogical approach that sees the student as being reflective and autonomous, working and developing in co-relation with a business, a facilitator, and a group of peers.
The student is in the center of the pedagogical approach and evaluates his or her soft skills, and based on this set goals for personal development. The approach delivers a personalized experience exposing the student to new knowledge, broadening and deepening it, and eventually developing the soft skills. To track learnings and challenges throughout the process the student uses tools such as self-assessment and auto-ethnography.
With guidance from the facilitator, and in collaboration with the peers, the student is assisted with the transition from autonomous to intermixed learning, when working on the real-life business problem. The VAKEN toolkit is used to support both the learning of soft skills and solving the real-life business problem.
The toolkit consists of a multitude of tools gathered from various sources or created by the VAKEN project partners. It is a flexible resource selected and designed to facilitate soft-skills. Furthermore, it is designed to accommodate both online and offline work. Its aim is to take the participants through a series of stages that will help them solve the business assignments and also to train the required soft-skills and competencies for the future.
The tools, such as exploring, participatory games, digital games and activities, are used to enrich the soft skills: creativity, critical thinking, complex problem solving and personal leadership.
The VAKEN toolkit complements the VAKEN process and it represents the foundation for all the stages and activities in the process.
The process consists of nine phases where students practice their soft skills while working on a real-life problem given by a company. The process can be entirely student driven depending on the student’s progression in their educational program. The length of the process can vary depending on the need.
In three phases students are involved directly with the company: in the preparation phase, midway pitch and final presentation. The role of the academic staff is as coach/facilitator helping the students.
The two Design Sprints in the middle of the process are inspired by Jake Knapps “Sprint: How to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days”, in order to help students to enhance their soft skills while developing solutions for the company involved.
The entire process has a focus on the student´s ability to learn/develop soft skills by using the process and different tools from the toolkit.