Letters from Denmark: How young people are developing their skills

Our partners in Denmark, Cyberhus, chat to Sanne about her experiences earning digital badges.

Edward Emond
Head of Youth Engagement

This blog has been written by our colleagues at Cyberhus in Denmark. We have been working together to develop digital badges that work trans-nationally. Through working with young people and employers in both countries, we developed a problem-solving digital badge, alongside one that helps young people identify their transferable skills (called ‘Super Helper’ in Denmark). They have spoken with Sanne to hear about her experiences of accessing the project.

Sanne is 21 years old. She found it quite difficult to keep up at school, so she dropped out. Sanne has depression but is in recovery. When she goes through hard days, she lacks patience, and even small problems may seem unmanageable. She first became aware of our courses via a Facebook ad and given her previous of experience of our support services, she decided to have a look.

Sanne is an example of one our many vulnerable young people who we meet on a daily basis through our counselling service. This is used by young people who do not thrive in school. Some have had a hard time academically, whilst others don’t have anyone with whom they can talk. They may also be really good at giving others a helping hand, or planning an activity but fail to see this as a strength. With Cyberhus Courses, we try to give these young people an opportunity to earn digital badges, alongside a certificate, documenting skills they already utilise in their daily lives.

Driving engagement through course structures

Self-learning can be quite hard to get motivated for. It’s important to have courses that are structured as bitesize pieces to encourage engagement. This was certainly a factor for Sanne. She chose to start with the “Super Helper” course because it felt more manageable. The course detailed numerous types of help/assistance, highlighting to her how she helps make a difference for other young people:

“The Super Helper course has made me feel more confident, providing an understanding that you can help others online. For example commenting on and liking something may help others, and sharing something from your own life may also be useful.”

As a result of her positive experience with the Super Helper course, she decided to have a look at the problem solver course. This taught her about her own personality, and also, that her own experiences have value. One week later, she completed the Problem Solving course, and she learnt about different tools, which she is now able to utilise in her work – especially in situations where she may lose her patience:

“I feel better equipped to solve problems. Especially because you get an insight into the fact that different types of personalities react differently. Understanding that I am naturally a certain type helps; receiving an explanation why, sometimes, I act as I do, and what could be a more appropriate way to act.”

Using badges to boost employability

Digital badges are completely new to Danish audiences, and so we are particularly interested in hearing what young people think about the concept. When introducing the concept at a pre-launch co-creation, young people in Denmark seemed receptive to the idea, telling us that the idea would give them something tangible to talk about at job interviews. We were keen to hear Sanne’s thoughts on this:

“I will use my digital badges and certificates when applying for jobs. They enable me to show that I have a handle on this. Both in relation to helping others, but also, now I have some tools for solving problems.”

Cyberhus is part of the Centre for Digital Youth Care in Denmark, and you can find out more about their work here. For more information about the project and our collaboration, email [email protected]

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Published on 09-Dec-2016