Career Education Resources: A Look Behind the Scenes

13 April 2022

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You may have seen our recent news item about the latest addition to WorkBC.ca, Career Education Resources. We’d like to take you behind the scenes to get a better understanding of why and how these resources were made – as it turns out, quite a bit is involved in getting a new section of the site online and in service. 

A Look Behind the Scenes
This new section of the site was a collaborative effort that involved the active participation of teachers, career counsellors, the CES Career Education Society, the Ministry of Education (EDUC) and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training (AEST). Through partnership, we were able to take the following steps. 

1.    The Engagement Phase
Together, AEST and EDUC developed a survey. We asked teachers and career counsellors to share their experiences and preferences; everything from what type of technology they prefer to use in the classroom, to what teaching tools they find useful (and not-so-useful) while teaching career education curriculum. An essential piece of service design is understanding the needs of the user; we asked and listened to the thoughts of over 160 participants. Then, we identified the themes and determined the possible solutions.

2.    The Design and Development Phases
Over the next few weeks, the project team worked with designers to create design concepts and review them with teachers and career counsellors. These mock-ups – a sample of the new microsite – featured the requirements identified during the engagement phase. We built and rebuilt; we considered sets of functionality, searchability, useful tags, subscription notifications, imagery, colour palettes and lesson plan content. There were some ideas which we liked but turned out to be too complex for our timeline – but these ideas aren’t gone, they’re just saved for another day.

In parallel, all of our existing career education materials and resources were thoroughly reviewed in relation to the EDUC’s Career Education Curriculum. In some cases, lesson plans were completely rewritten by subject matter experts at the CES Career Education Society. Additionally, EDUC’s curriculum department provided advice on lesson plan standards and things to look out for moving forward. This “information renovation” produced up-to-date lesson plans, learning activities and teacher tips with the intended purpose for in-class and/or online use. Completing this step in parallel with design and development allowed for over 100 pages of content to be prepared for a new content management system and detailed with metadata for the search and filter functionality we were also busy setting up.

3.    The Usability Testing Phase 
Next, we invited 20 educators, including teachers, substitute teachers, teaching assistants and career counsellors to test it out. We included educators teaching in rural areas of the province as well as in cities; educators spanning all grades, from elementary (K-5), to middle (6-9) and high school (10-12). During a 30-minute session, educators were asked to complete a variety of tasks by navigating through the newly designed prototype, as we eagerly recorded results from their user experience.

This was another exciting opportunity to see and hear directly from our intended audience. We noted their challenges and successes. Changes, edits and solutions became business requirements and were implemented into the newly designed microsite.

4.    The User Acceptance Testing (UAT) Phase and Launch
In a secure testing environment, our internal UAT team conducted several rounds of testing. They identified issues and worked with developers to apply the fixes. After issues were resolved and a few other internal launch requirements were met, we had obtained the green light to go public and launch.

Seeing the Benefits
Over the last few years, we’ve seen far too many events and opportunities put on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic – Find Your Fit, is a prime example. As a result of this gap, our team was determined to find alternative ways to continue to promote WorkBC.ca career information and resources for educators and youth. The creation of Career Education Resources provides more access to teachers and career counsellors as they help students explore the future.

Career Education Resources is a one-stop “shop” for teachers and career counsellors to find up-to-date information that is aligned with B.C.’s K-12 career education curriculum. 

Discover the large collection of resources, lesson plans, learning activities, exercises and tools. These easy-to-use, ready-made, age-appropriate materials support youth so they can make early and informed decisions about their future career pathways.

Check it out at CareerEducation.WorkBC.ca.