Redefining Thinking and Learning at SkillsFuture Festival

The annual SkillsFuture Festival to promote lifelong learning was hosted by the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) this year on 23 July. Riding on the theme of ‘Design for the Future Economy’, the single-day event featured 53 learning workshops and talks, with SIT faculty staff sharing their expert insights on thinking and learning.

Event Coverage
08 Sep 2022

Design Innovation, Leadership and Communication, Health Sciences

Held on 23 July, this year’s SkillsFuture Festival discussions delved into equipping the Singapore workforce with skill sets enabled by design innovation and digitalisation, in a bid to steer the nation into the next phase of economic recovery and growth. 

Organised in partnership with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and with support from the institutes of higher learning (IHLs), the event touched on topics regarding emerging and growth areas aligned with the seven Future Economy Council (FEC) Economic Clusters, as well as other Continuing Education and Training (CET) programmes offered by the IHLs.

Experts from the various IHLs offered insights on the seven Economic Clusters of FEC: Advanced Manufacturing, Connectivity, Human Health and Potential, Lifestyle, Modern Services, Resource and Environmental Sustainability, as well as Urban Systems. If you had missed the festival workshops featuring our very own experts, here are the key highlights from the sharing sessions. 

1. Designing Learning for Humans: Using Microlearning in Creating Learning Environments by A/Prof Lee Chien Ching
Terms such as ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and ‘Machine Learning’ may induce fear among older workers. Rather than imposing on employees to take up difficult courses or subjects, employers could consider micro-courses as a start to build their confidence. A/Prof Lee explains how microlearning meets an employee’s learning needs just-in-time, when he or she most needs it. A microlearning unit is performance-focused, with the content aimed at plugging skill gaps.

A/Prof Lee explaining the fundamentals of micromodules to participants who attended her workshop. (Photo: SUTD)

SIT’s Centre for Communication Skills has developed a series of micromodules to support the communication skills needs of its students throughout their candidature. Using that as an example, A/Prof Lee illustrated how micromodules were used to drive personalised and self-directed learning.

The key learning points from the session included how to design microlearning from learners’ real needs and perspectives, find the right balance in blended learning (classroom versus online learning), as well as integrate microlearning into the flow of work (devising a training ecosystem). 

2. The Art of Asking Questions: Adopting Critical Design Thinking in the Digitalisation of Solutions by Asst Prof Nadya Patel and Asst Prof Mark Teo
The contemporary world demands skilful thinkers to come up with new ways of living and new solutions to the world’s biggest problems. These include utilising a design innovation approach, which arguably cannot take place in the absence of critical thinking. It is thus crucial to integrate critical thinking and design thinking when innovating solutions. Adopting a ‘critical design thinking’ conceptual model, Asst Prof Nadya Patel and Asst Prof Mark Teo engaged participants in activities to understand key challenges of food security in Singapore.

Asst Prof Nadya Patel (centre) and Asst Prof Mark Teo (left) walked participants through the stages of the critical design thinking conceptual model. (Photo: SUTD)

Participants were introduced to critical -design thinking tools through which the facilitators modelled the art of asking good questions. The participants had a hands-on experience generating such questions from a discussion of case studies. The case studies were related to tapping on digital solutions to enhance the resilience of Singapore’s food supply. By applying the ‘critical-design thinking’ conceptual model into practice, participants would be better equipped to ideate solutions to solve real world problems in future.

3. Genre-based Approach to Decoding Research Articles in Health Science by Asst Prof Lee Hwee Hoon and Asst Prof Kenneth Ong
Scientific texts are written differently from other types of texts, such as news reports and narratives. Decoding research articles requires the reader to understand the rhetorical structure and language features typical in these texts, as well as the functions they serve, to more efficiently access the information provided. Many healthcare professions require frequent reading and referencing of scientific papers and studies. Through this session, Asst Prof Lee Hwee Hoon and Asst Prof Kenneth Ong helped participants dissect research papers in a systematic way.

Asst Prof Lee Hwee Hoon provided a detailed breakdown of the textual and communicative functions of scientific texts. (Photo: SUTD)

Drawing on genre-analytic frameworks for the different sections of research articles in health science, Asst Prof Lee and Asst Prof Ong explained the structure and features of the various types of articles, as well as what textual and communicative functions are. This session was particularly beneficial to young allied health professionals seeking to be informed by research in their area of work. Such learnings may even entice them to write their own research articles for publication in future.

At the event, our colleagues from SITLEARN helped to promote CET programmes to attendees, aided by a few SITizen Ambassadors. Some of the featured CET courses include Data Forensics in Accounting, Urban Farming Systems and Solutions, Food and Feed Drying Technology and Artificial Intelligence in Broad Strokes.

SITLEARN staff alongside SITizen Ambassadors at the SkillsFuture Festival@SUTD. From left: Lukita Lukman (SITLEARN PD), Niharikaa Shamendra (SAm), Muhammad Amirul Hazim bin Mohamad Helmy (SAm), Santhny Ramani (SAm), Janelle Lim (SITLEARN PD) (Photo: SUTD)

This article was originally published on SIT's IN-SITe.

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