09 October 2019
User Journey Mapping
UX/UI Prototype (low/high)
Adobe After Effects
HTML / CSS / JS
LevelUp is a project under which I worked as a primary idealizer and which I currently coordinate. It was designed alongside information technology companies from the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil and professors from PUC Minas.
The focus of the program is to train IT students in emerging technologies with emphasis in back-end and front-end development, data science, AI, networking and cloud infrastructure (hard skills). We also work to develop students’ interpersonal, communication, teamwork and management skills (soft skills).
The program utilizes complex gamification techniques to motivate and engage students. Learners receive scores and medals, used as performance metrics which can ultimately earn them internships at tech companies. Students also receive a certificate of participation at the conclusion of their learning track.
For this project I designed and developed all systems, concepts, narratives, virtual elements (mobile app, web pages, animations, videos, presentations and branding) and product strategy. I currently manage the program’s continuous improvement and its recurring editions.
Brazil has a shortage of IT professionals. Companies come to higher education institutions looking for qualified professionals. Educational institutions, however, simply can’t keep up with market demand.
The solution was to create parallel learning pathways to train students in emerging technologies and work on behavioral dynamics so that they know how to behave in the professional world.
Primary Problem: Train students in new technologies to meet market demands.
Secondary Problem: Create a technological environment to track the student’s development and the development of their projects.
- Recruit leading IT companies in various sectors to help build and design the student’s learning journey;
- Create a narrative to gamify the process, and map the student’s behavioral profile;
- Create a gamification system to engage and motivate the student, and generate quantitative data for hiring;
- Develop an app so that the student may keep track of their achievements and the program’s progress;
- Create technical documentation so that the program may be reproduced in various courses and by various professors;
- Continually test the program’s affectivity with partner companies.
Career project presentation video.
LevelUp was designed in partnership with large IT companies in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Companies are constantly looking for qualified professionals, but can’t seem to find them. The idea is to train IT students to fill internship vacancies that soon become full-time vacancies.
The first step was to bring together leaders of partner companies to track down problems and outline goals.
During this phase, Design Thinking techniques were used to extract problems and opportunities the program could tackle.
Attracting the attention of students is not an easy task. With the insights extracted using Design Thinking, it was possible to use concepts from the world of games and movies to transform the project's narrative into something more engaging and that connects with students.
The studies brought the following conceptual bases for the construction of the program's history:
1. The Hero's Journey by Joseph Campbell (Monomyth)
2. Taxonomy of RPGs
3. Player Personality Types by Richard Bartle
4. Fun theory processes by Raph Koster
With the project’s core narrative established, it is time to add the pedagogical strategies necessary to ensure the learning of new technologies (hard skills) and the playful dynamics for behavioral skills (soft skills).
During this phase, we used the following concepts:
- Blending Learning;
- Flipped Classroom;
- Constructivist Approach:
- Knowledge representation.
Through sketching, the idea of using islands as the program’s narrative mechanism was born. Islands divide clans by their skills and behavior. In this phase, the stages program’s various stages were defined:
Discover and Explore: The student undergoes on-line training on emerging technologies (hard skills).
Inspire and Conquer: the company the student is applying for establishes a practical project with real use-cases to test the student's knowledge.
Transform: the student undergoes various learning dynamics to work on behavioral skills (soft skills).
The program has an average duration of 3 months. To motivate and engage students during this time, it was necessary to think of a complex gamification system, which enabled concepts of fun, challenge and reward. Regarding gamification, the system contemplates:
- Badges (Medals);
- Quests (Quests/Objectives) instead of Tests;
- eXPeriences (Experience Points) instead of Grades;
- Cooperation and Competition (Groups).
Time to put the model to the test and run test groups with the program. 35 students were chosen and divided into 5 groups, each allocated to a company. Results were extremely promising, and during test phases 40% of students were hired as an interns.
Feedback was implemented, and improvements were made to the program’s strategy.
Through the app, students can track their personal development until they land an internship.
The LevelUp program is based itself on the development of technical skills (hard skills) and behavioral skills (soft skills). The technical approach handles the learning of new technologies and a behavioral approach handles the development of interpersonal skills. Through the app, students can see medals and points they’ve earned. With this, they can better identify areas for improvement, and understand their own profile.