The World’s First e-learning System Designed for Women Employment Policy
IMS GLC referred to the project as, “the most unprecedented, excellent results-oriented e-learning system in the world.”
UN said, “This e-Learning system has taken global women employment policy to the next level.”
SEOUL, KOREA — The online career development center “Dream-wings” (www.dream.go.kr), an e-learning system for women’s career development run by Gyeonggi-do (the most populous province in South Korea), was honored with the prestigious 2012 IMS Learning Impact Platinum Award from IMS GLC (Global Learning Consortium). Last month, the Gyeonggi Women’s Development Center (www.womenpro.or.kr)’s Dream-wings was showcased at the 2012 Learning Impact Award (LIA), a renowned annual global competition , held in Toronto, Canada in June and advanced into the final round of the competition. In the final round it competed against a total of 26 formidable finalists including Desire2Learn in the Big Apple (Desire2Learn and NY DOE (USA)), Online Courses for Business Education (from Harvard Business Publishing (USA)) and Digital Media Services in CPS (from Chicago Public Schools and Safari Montage (USA)). In the end, Gyeonggi Women’s Development Center’s “Dream-wings” took home the highest honor - the IMS Learning Impact Platinum Award.
The LIA is a global competition held annually that has been held by IMS GLC (the worlds’ largest e-learning consortium) since 2007. Each year, nearly 500 e-learning experts evaluate entries which have won the regional preliminary competition in each continent in order to discover and award excellent e-learning systems which provide the largest contribution to the advancement of education, training and learning throughout the world. Gyeonggi Women’s Development Center (GWDC) is not the first Korean institution which was named by the IMS GLC as a platinum medalist in the Learning Impact Awards; the Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS) was pronounced the winner of the IMS Learning Impact Platinum Award in 2007 and Sigong Media (a Korean digital contents developer and service provider) received it in 2010.
Dr. Cho Jung-ah, head of GWDC said, “Our “Online Career Coaching Program,” a major service available from Dream-wings, has already been recognized on a global scale by winning the 2011 UN Public Service Award (or UNPSA) (widely recognized as the most prestigious international accolade regarding excellence in public service). The fact that Dream-wings’ won the top accolade, the 2012 IMS Learning Impact Platinum Award, signifies that our e-learning system has been proven to be the world’s best in terms of tangible educational effects and advanced technology.” Therefore, Dream wings, which integrates the UNPSA-winning Online Career Coaching Program, has become the world’s first online education program provider to be acknowledged by both the UN and international e-learning consortium IMS GLC. Dr. Cho Jung-ah added, “As Dream-wings was recognized by IMS GLC which spearheads the standardization of international e-learning systems, Dream-wings, I expect, will make a huge impact on the world’s e-learning sector and related industries.
As a matter of fact, Dream-wings’ recognition by taking home the world’s most prestigious awards in the field was somewhat heralded: Dream-wings was selected as the best practice model for elevating women’s economic empowerment through education in IT science technology and the provision of business start-up support by UNESCO Asia and the Pacific Regional Office in 2001. It was further regarded as the best practice of running a women’s career development center in APGEN & UNDP “Science Technology and Women Empowerment Best Practices” in 2002; and chosen as the best practice for providing women with career consulting services in an OECD report on professional career coaching in 2002. On top of that, GWDC was selected as the best practice for women’s economic empowerment in the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)’s expert report on women’s economic empowerment and as the best practice of women empowerment through IT science and technology by the first World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Gender Caucus. Dream-wings was introduced in a variety of Asia-pacific region presentations and exhibitions. On the domestic front, Dream-wings also received a number of awards: it was picked as the best practice by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family of Korea (MOGEF) and won the President’s Award in the Municipality Informatization Competition in 2010.
Dream-Wings Is an Online Learning Portal designed for Female Job Seekers
Dream-wings is a free online learning portal run by GWDC. Since it is a website that lends web-based support to women who are either looking for jobs or considering starting up their own business, the name “Dream-wings” was selected to liken its support for female job seekers attaching wings to their dreams. About 300 courses regarding desk work, healthcare, social welfare, IT, foreign languages, the certificates of qualifications and hobbies, as well as others are being offered online. When announcing the winner of the 2012 IMS Learning Impact Platinum Award, a LIA spokesperson said, “Our thorough examination of Dream-wings discovered that Dream wings was more than simply an online e-learning portal that replaces off-line education. It charted new territory by linking online education to real jobs. It is the most unprecedented, excellent e-learning system in the world.”
Back in 2004, GWDC commissioned Samsung SDS to perform research on how to launch an e-learning service. They used these results to draw up a master plan offering e-learning services to women who have experienced an extensive period of career breaks owing to marriages or childbirth. A year later, GWDC opened online “Gyeonggi Women Career Development Center (www.ggw.or.kr),” Korea’s first-ever free e-learning service for women. Though "Gyeonggi Women Career Development Center ” started off as a local website built just for women living in Gyeonggi-do, it changed its name and website address to Dream-wings (www.dream.go.kr) in November, 2011 to mark its launch of nationwide services.
In addition, entering the 6th year of operation in 2010, Dream-wings has expanded the scope of its services into total career development support by adding diagnostic services (e.g. competency diagnosis and employability diagnosis) and support for job placement and business start-up for greater than 300 e-learning programs. Furthermore, “Smart Dream-wings” (http://m.dream.go.kr), a mobile version of Dream-wings, became open to the public in March, 2012. Dr. Cho mentioned, “Stay-at-home mothers wishing to get a job and working mothers looking for better career opportunities are never provided with enough time to improve their self-development. Thus, they find a favorable option with Dream-wings which can be accessed anywhere and anytime.
Dream-Wings’s Major Service “Online Career Coaching Program”
Dream-wings’s Online Career Coaching Program received the 2011 UNPSA in the category of women’s policy. Handing out the award, the UN said that the Online Career Coaching Program took women employment policy to new heights by offering a one-stop service that encompasses diagnosis of employability, educational planning, e-learning and job coaching.
Dr. Cho said, “Before the launch of the Online Career Coaching Program, conventional wisdom held that the provision of education could be accessed online, but linking e-learning to actual employment and business start-ups was virtually impossible. Dr. Cho picked up the idea from the word, “employability” to break that conventional wisdom at a career consultant conference held in the US in 2008. She recalled that in contrast to Korea, a country which was keen on employment rates, the US was focused on improving employability (which refers to a person's capability for gaining and maintaining employment). After returning from her trip to the US, Dr. Cho began to devote herself to developing an employability index.
Online Career Coaching Program is supporting women’s job searches by leveraging its employability index. Online Career Coaching Program still quite a novel job searching service based on a scientific system that combines IT and e-learning with job coaching. Employability of a job seeker can be scientifically calculated through the following four steps: employment diagnosis, diagnosis of professionalism, aptitude tests and occupational competency tests. Taking advantage of the obtained employability index, Employee Mentors (EM), online career consultants provide jobseekers with one-on-one consulting services for job placement and successful business start-ups. Currently 70 Employee Mentors are offering consultation services to women. The Employee Mentor Program that started in 2007 helped nearly 3,000 women in that year alone, and 650 of them saw their dreams come true. To date, approximately 20,000 female job seekers have took advantage of the employability diagnosis service through the Employee Mentor Program. The number of female job seekers who have used coaching services reached 13,800, 1,800 of which resulted in employment.
The implementation and distribution of policies honored with the UN Public Service Award are given a priority in each nation under the auspices of the UN. In addition, these policies are promoted as successful benchmarking models for developing nations, so they can be developed into international policy brands. Therefore, there is a definite prospect for Dream-wing, a recipient of the UN Public Service Award, to evolve into an international policy brand. The 2011 UN Public Service Awards Ceremony underwent participation from public institutions and state-owned organizations from five continents.
UN PSA has been handed out annually since the UN designated June 23 as the UN Public Service Day in 2003. The finalists of UNPSAare selected and scrutinized by panels consisting of public administration experts designed to select the year’s best public administrative service or policy in the world. Korean companies have been the recipients of this award UN PSA on several occasions including: Korea On-line E-Procurement System, run by Public Procurement Service (PPC), won the UN Public Service Award in 2003; the Government Innovation Index (GII) developed by the Ministry of Public Administration and Safety of Korea in 2006; the Ministry of Justice’s immigration control service in 2007; and the Seoul City government in 2008-2010.
Muslim Countries Come to Korea to Take Their Cue from Korea’s e-learning System
At the UN Women Forum which coincided with the 2011 UN Public Service Awards ceremony, Dr. Cho made a presentation to introduce GWDC’s establishment of a career development model and excellent services to public servants from other nations. Dr. Cho said, “At that time, officials from institutions for women’s empowerment in developing nations were surprised by the effectiveness of online services offered by our career coaching system that takes a mid and long-term approach towards women’s career development by scientifically analyzing the requirements of the job market.”
At the 2011 UN Public Service Awards ceremony, Dr. Cho was approached by a number of public servants from the Middle East. Sitting next to Dr. Cho at the ceremony was an official from the Information Tehnology Authority of Oman who displayed his interest in GWDC’s women employment support policy and told her that he wanted to learn more about it. Last January, less than one and a half years following the Forum, the Omani government dispatched three experts in information and communications to Korea to learn about and attain hands-on experience with Korea’s excellent women-friendly policies such as GWDC’s online career coaching system, mid- and long-term IT and CT training for women, support programs for business start-ups, and diagnostic tests of occupational competency. In May, 2012, Dr. Cho was invited to the Oman Information and Communications Exhibition where she made a presentation on the effectiveness of GWDC programs.
Since the foundation of GWDC in 2005, about 1350 female policy experts from 60 developing nations, including Mongolia, Pakistan, Indonesia and Vietnam, have visited the GWDC to benchmark the Center’s women-friendly facilities and IT prowess. The number of women policy officials who visited GWDC over the past 10 years is in excess of 3,400. In the second week of June, 2012, Indonesia’s women policy officials came to Korea on a 9-day trip to visit GWDC. This coincides with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) embarking on the construction of a women career development center, which is patterned after GWDC, in the second half of this year. Before this project, GWDC carried out the first women’s policy ODA (official development assistance) project in which public servants from Mongolia were invited to Korea and partook in in-depth women policy training courses.
Dr. Cho said, “Advanced education for women’s empowerment is crucial to enhancing the socio-economic status of women in developing nations. E-learning is the most effective tool to narrow the information gap. “We will share our experiences with other recipients of UN Public Service Awards to take Gyeonggi-do’s model for developing female human resources to the next level. Since the status of women in Korea who have deeply embraced Confucian ideas has been altered appreciably for a century, I hope to share Korea’s knowhow on enhancing women empowerment with other nations where women’s rights are less appreciated,” she added.