Bringing Next Level Learning to Practice: A Virtual Workshop Series for Practitioners

October 20, 2022

What can technologies like virtual reality add to workforce development, and how do they support learning that may be difficult to achieve in traditional settings?

What cognitive, social, and emotional skills do workers need for Green Jobs?

As organizations seek to recruit and retain diverse talent, what do we need to consider about culture, identity, and positionality, especially in the context of the job interview?

These are just a few of the questions that Next Level Lab researchers and practitioners tackled together in our recent virtual workshop series, Bringing Next Level Learning to Practice. The series included nine interactive workshops along with asynchronous self-guided learning opportunities to accommodate attendees’ varied schedules. The workshops were wide-ranging in focus, with sessions on topics including the “amygdala hijack”, learning in the metaverse, the human-AI partnership, harnessing the power of reflection in the workplace, developing an inventory of skills for green jobs, improving the way we interview multi-cultural job candidates, and using others’ minds well in the context of work.

While we have hosted other events for practitioner audiences in the past, this series offered a unique opportunity to engage intensively with participants over the course of a week and build a sense of community and collaboration. In total, 51 workforce development professionals engaged with the series, representing 26 organizations including non-profits, local and state government organizations, higher education, research institutions, and industry. We view these interactions with practitioners as crucial to our lab’s mission, as we aim to pursue avenues of research that are grounded in authentic workforce development contexts and can offer tangible implications for work in the field.

As one participant commented in our wrap-up session:

“The part I enjoyed the most was that all the participants had different roles in our lives, as researchers, educators, professionals in workforce [development]. I really enjoyed that in the discussions, we could hear the first-person perspectives from people who are in the workforce, and the daily practices and challenges…in applying these research findings that the lab is working on.”

We plan to offer another set of workshops in the spring to build on these ideas and present new findings from the research the Next Level Lab is conducting this year. Stay tuned for more information about this next set of offerings!