MIT J-WEL Releases New Framework for Understanding Uniquely Human Skills Under an Open License

Researchers interviewed experts and compared 41 frameworks to develop a new model of Human Skills
By: MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Jan. 29, 2020 - PRLog -- As AI, automation, and other emerging technologies increasingly transform industries, workers are scrambling to understand the uniquely human value they can bring to the workplace—value that will keep them in demand throughout their careers. Today, researchers at the MIT Abdul Latif  Jameel World Education Lab (MIT J-WEL) have released a new tool to help workers, and those who teach and employ them, to better understand and develop these "human skills." Called the Human Skills Matrix, this framework provides a synthesis of the best thinking in the field.

"There is so much variation in what people call these skills: social skills, soft skills, power skills, transverse skills, etc.  And there's even more variation in the skills that these frameworks highlight," remarked J-WEL Principal Research Scientist George Westerman "That's why we undertook this effort—to identify and structure a set of human skills that we can believe in, and that others might find useful."

The Human Skills Matrix (HSX) is being released under an open license that allows educators, non-profits, and companies to build on the framework. The HSX is available on the J-WEL website at   The site also contains a teaching guide for an exemplar workshop developed by the MIT team that helps learners to understand and develop a subset of the human skills.

To create the HSX, the MIT team surveyed literature to identify work already conducted in the domain and then interviewed faculty, employers, and other thought leaders about the non-technical skills needed for future jobs. The team identified 41 frameworks published by a range of for-profit and non-profit organizations. The analysis of the literature, interviews, and other frameworks produced a list of 44 items across four categories of skills. To refine and validate this list, the researchers invited thirty experts to rank and select the most important skills. Taken together, the findings led to the development of the 2 x 2 Human Skills Matrix containing 24 skills, within a meta-level 2x2 framework of four key areas 1) thinking, 2) interacting, 3) managing ourselves, and 4) leading.

On March 4, J-WEL will offer a workshop, "Human Skills: From Conversations to Convergence," to be held on the MIT campus,  from 8:45 am to 5:00 pm ( Confirmed speakers include Jean Hammond (LearnLaunch), Charlie Bodwell (International Labour Organization), and Namrata Kala (MIT). The event is appropriate for all professionals involved in workforce learning and human skills at corporations, schools and universities, non-profit organizations, and edtech companies.

Steve Carson
Source:MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab
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