“Send Evidence of Exceptional Ability”

What does the future of employment and recruitment look like under the velocity of AI-augmented learning and industry?

Another post that is really more questions & provocations than solutions, but I think we’re at a stage where innovative ideas about learning & assessment are about to have their moment in the sun.

Sam Altman’s (OpenAI CEO) tweet above is one of many similar job-ads to emerge over the last year, spurred by the acceleration and open-access nature of AI tools and developments.

“send evidence of exceptional ability”

Not “send a CV”

Not “tell us what colleges you went to”

Not “tell us where you’re from”

Not “provide X references”

I love this. Why?

These are indications that we are heading into a world that can be shaped by learners’ true demonstrations of competency, creativity and skills. Portfolio-based applications are nothing new: just look at the Arts for inspiration. But in a world where millions of students graduate schools and universities each year, how can we truly know the competences, aptitudes, attitudes and skills a candidate can bring?

GPA, exam results and big-name universities might be working (debtabley) for now – but are they a perfect measure of talent? Or are old methods of assessment and well-worn pathways to expensive education a poor proxy for learning? Even (and thankfully) the IB are leaning-in to the AI-enhanced reality.

Knowledge is the stuff we think with. Skills are the tools we use. Creative and critical literacies are how we make sense of it all. Competencies are what we do with it all. Inspiration is what drives us.

So how can AI-augmented learners and professionals shine in a world where tech makes knowledge and skills more readily available, personalisable, updatable, adaptable and relevant?

Who’s Working On It?

Lots of people. We are making our start at WAB as we develop our Profile of WAB Alumni, inspired and informed by the Mastery Transcript Consortium, IB Approaches to Learning, our Guiding Statements and future-readiness indicators (WEF, OECD & more).

A profile & competencies focus demonstrations of learning on generating “evidence of (exceptional) abilities” – strengths and outcomes that can really show who a learner is and what they can do; how they have engaged with learning and world and how they have made sense of it.

For us, this is early work, but mature thinking. For you, what would you put in your own profile? What competencies and evidence would you put forwards? What artifacts would you put forwards to secure your dream job?

Can this be more equitable?

This is an interesting and important problem to overcome. Does the opportunity to create a richly-populated profile reflect access to opportunities, materials and people that is more intense (and so privileged) than simply sitting some standardised exams?

How might these barriers-to-entry be overcome?

At the professional level, when I see large companies make statements like Altman’s, it gives me hope. What sits at the end of the pipeline? Do we even need the pipeline if “evidence of exceptional ability” in a professional domain is enough, and access to learning is (almost) free? How might schools and universities adapt to a career marketplace that values evidence over ‘results’?

Looking into the AI/ML world, I am inspired by the work of HuggingFace and many new companies and organisations appearing that focus on open-access, demonstration of skills and proven ability to ‘ship’. HuggingFace is committed to being open-access and free, lowering barriers to entry to developers, sharing ideas and promoting works of originality, focused on equity, ethics and transparency.

In the post(ish)-covid era, when flexible, hybrid and remote working have become normalised, is there real potential for flattened, global offices, busting the limitations of visa restrictions?

I look forward to seeing more success stories of people finding great careers through demonstrating their abilities in real-time, in the hope that these advances really do increase access for all and level the living field.

In the meantime, we’ll keep working on our Profile and trying to shape future-adaptable, well-rounded learners who can be more human in an tech-infused world.

Update – since writing this post, Eric Hudson at Global Online Academy posted a great piece on “Why Student Artifacts Of Excellence Are More Important Than Ever“, which even features the work of one of our students.

Cover image generated in Midjourney with the prompt: knolling of learning, Subject; computers – art – – brushes – maths – nature – health – sport – happiness – diversity, vantablack details, teal –aspect 16:9






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