Our whistlestop field trip to Ontario began in earnest today with a visit to Career Cruising. I have written about Career Cruising before on this blog, but I haven’t really had a chance to look at what they have been upto for a couple of years.
For those of you who haven’t encountered Career Cruising they are responsible for one of Canada’s largest online career information and assessment systems. I have always found the company’s team to be really thoughtful in the way they conceptualise career support and the role of online tools within it.
What I found in this conversation was that the way in which they have been thinking about their products has been subtly but significantly changing. In the past I felt that Career Cruising was essentially an online interest inventory supported by a range of career information and other tools. However, I felt that this time the conceptualisation of the product had moved on and they were really talking about their product as an individual career learning plan.
There is a strong literature on individual learning plans (ILPs) which I associate most clearly with Scott Solberg and some of his colleagues. In essence the idea is that if learners can be incentivised to work through a structured programme of activities which is tailored to their individual needs, this can drive strong career learning and positive engagement with school. I think that this always reminded me of a lot of the experiements that I’ve seen with progress files and e-portfolios in schools and universities in the UK. However, my meeting with Career Cruising today made me rethink this a bit.
If you can get strong policy support for ILPs to drive schools’ engagement with them, the technology is now good enough to make the whole thing a positive experience for the students. At its best it offers a tool which can act as a bridge between curriculum and students intrinsic motivations around career. It can also support the engagement of parents and employers.
OK so there were a lot of ifs in that last couple of paragraphs. But, it has made me want to think again about ILPs and e-portfolios.