SkillsFuture course ratings to be displayed for all govt-funded courses by 2019

File photo showing participants at a worksop that is part of a SkillsFuture training programme launched by SkillsFuture Singapore, on Oct 28, 2017.
File photo showing participants at a worksop that is part of a SkillsFuture training programme launched by SkillsFuture Singapore, on Oct 28, 2017.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Users of the MySkillsFuture platforms can now make more informed course selections, as both the web portal and phone app are displaying user ratings for selected courses for the first time.

These ratings are based on two surveys: one on the satisfaction of trainees at the end of each course, and another that measures, six months later, how much trainees have applied what they learned in their work.

The survey findings are translated into a ratings system, which all users can see, said SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), which operates the portal and app. Qualitative comments by trainees will also be on display.

The new ratings system will be rolled out progressively to all SSG-funded courses by the middle of next year.

Senior Minister of State for Education Chee Hong Tat announced these changes at the launch of the SkillsFuture Festival on Saturday (Jun 30) at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Paya Lebar.

Said Mr Chee: "Users can view the feedback from other learners on these courses before deciding which courses they want to choose."

Although feedback from trainees was gathered before this, it was not done in a standardised way and the sentiment was thus not reflected on the MySkillsFuture portal or app.

Mr Chee also said the platforms will start recommending courses to its users by early next year.

"The aim is to have a better match between the recommended courses and the user's needs and interests and also to allow us to process the large number of requests more efficiently," he said.

Since its launch last year, the MySkillsFuture portal has had 5.4 million user visits and around 550,000 user log-ins, said Mr Chee. The app has been downloaded more than 19,000 times.

Administrative assistant Nicole Koe, 28, told The Straits Times that she has browsed courses on both the portal and the app. She attended the festival launch to find out more about the activities in the coming weeks and was pleased to note the changes to the MySkillsFuture platforms.

"Before this, I could not fully gauge how useful the courses would be for me. But seeing people's feedback and the ratings for the course will allow me make more informed choices, especially since the feedback is from people who have gone through the courses themselves," she said.

In his speech, Mr Chee noted that technology is impacting the way Singaporeans live. Resisting it is not an option and new jobs will require workers here to learn new skills and adopt new approaches at work, he said.

"We need to equip our workers with the knowledge to use technology effectively, like how a craftsman is able to use his tools skillfully to get the job done," he said.

This upskilling must be part of a "national culture" which encourages lifelong learning from young, with strong support from employers, unions, and educational institutions.

The inaugural SkillsFuture Festival runs until Aug 4. It will see more than 350 learning activities across the island, including forums with industry leaders and free skills demonstrations.

Through the MySkillsFuture platforms, Singaporeans can also participate in the festival remotely by buying discounted e-books from publisher McGraw-Hill Education and perusing 350 discounted courses on the online learning platform Udemy.

The festival, a reboot of the annual Lifelong Learning Festival that was launched in 2014, will also involve the biennial WorldSkills Singapore competition, from July 5 to 7.

The competition will see top young local talent in skills like information and network cabling, as well as health and social care being crowned and chosen to represent Singapore in international skills competitions.