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Digital Media and Learning Application Helps Prepare 21st Century Workforce

By Megan Cardiff
January 28, 2013

Philadelphia Academies, Inc. President Lisa Nutter introduced Philadelphia’s “Digital On-Ramps Initiative” on January 19 during The U.S. Conference of Mayors 81st Annual Winter Meeting. Joining Nutter on the panel were Philadelphia Youth Network CEO Stacy Holland and Pragmatic Solutions, Inc. Director of Education and Serious Games and Creative Director Stacy Kruse.

Philadelphia’s “Digital On-Ramps” project is designed to fight digital illiteracy and solve many of the problems mayors face today in their communities. It is a mobile and land-based digital network that provides anytime, anywhere access to connect individuals to employment and post'secondary education.

“Digital On-Ramps provides many benefits to Philadelphia by utilizing digital technology to provide better organization of and access to resources,” said Nutter, who highlighted the personalized and customized employment training, education programs that can be accessed online and increased access to employment opportunities.

The project was conceived in order to address the needs of individuals looking to further their education and careers. One of its focuses is on scale and impact to increase quality and provide support to more people. “Philadelphians, through Digital-On Ramps, will have access to vetted, personalized digital training and tailored matches to employment opportunities,” Nutter stated.

“This is a destination for learners and a trusted source for information,” said Kruse of Pragmatic Solutions, a software development company and a key partner in the Digital On-Ramps project who helped executive the badging concept. As a student moves through the course they acquire a set of badges representing the various skill levels mastered. These levels are competency-based, rather than time based, and progress is marked in small, flexible accomplishments measured by multiple assessments.

Holland discussed one of the assessment tools used in the Digital On-Ramps project—PYN’s internship assessment. This assessment is used by internship mentors and is designed to support skills development with badges being earned at the end of each successfully completed section of the course.