Digital Twins of Perfect Specialists for Assistance to Young People in Professional Orientation are to be Created at SUSU

Choosing a profession in many aspects determine a person’s future as well as his or her development and life quality. However, not everyone can answer the question of whom to become. In order to help university applicants and students to choose a sphere of professional activity, the Faculty of Psychology of the SUSU Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities is launching a project entitled “Digital Biometrical Twin of a Professional”.

The project is going to be implemented within project-based learning – the new educational technology launched at South Ural State University in academic year 2018-2019. It is targeted at developing a technology for professional self-identification of modern students. Leader of the project is Dean of the SUSU Faculty of Psychology, Head of the Department of Developmental Psychology, Elena Soldatova. The project assumes creation of digital twins of perfect specialists of various professions, carrying out diagnostics of personal qualities and organising developmental events for students, as well as development of an online service for independent testing of university applicants.

Innovative approach to modern young people

Rapid development of the society under conditions of digitalisation had a great effect on cognitive abilities and development features of a person. Specialists are talking about existence of a new generation of school and university students, for whom mosaic thinking, Google-effect of memory and fast navigation in the Internet are customary. Meanwhile, psychologists note that contemporary young people are more infantile, and therefore many school students often can’t determine a vector of professional development by themselves.

“According to official statistics, only 14% of school leavers choose a university by themselves. Approximately 60-65% of university applicants choose a place to study based on their parents’ advice. Though parents, in turn, not always get oriented at qualities that would really help their child to become an advanced specialist in one sphere or another. University applicants use tests for vocational orientation provided by the Internet, but not all of such tests have passed psychometric checking, and the results that were obtain through these tests can be incomplete and even incorrect. So therefore, the project that we are working on is extremely relevant,” explains Elena Soldatova.

In the project, it is planned to apply the experience of innovative technology of a digital twin used in the engineering sphere. Digital twin is a virtual image that possesses characteristics of some object and allows understanding the way it should be functioning in real-life conditions. Based on this concept, psychologists of SUSU will compile “perfect” images of specialists of various activity spheres.

Focusing on personal qualities of a professional

When compiling portraits of perfect specialists that meet the requirements for one or another sphere of activity, knowledge competencies are going to be considered together with personal qualities.

“Contemporary professions require a specialist to possess both professional competencies and the qualities that are called overprofessional, or personal. This includes creativity, leadership, abilities to forming a team, etc. In classic education, these qualities do not get proper attention. However, nowadays we notice that many companies, while recruiting employees, pay as much attention to personal qualities as to the level of education and professional skills,” emphasizes the project leader.

The project group will include students studying on the specialist’s programme on Workplace Psychology. Based on professional standards and expert evaluations provided by specialists of various spheres, they will determine the most important qualities of efficient specialists in one or another sphere of activity. During stage one, future psychologists will conduct a number of interviews with acknowledged professionals and HR managers of various companies.

As a result, some matrix of professionally important qualities obtained from various sources should be generated. Students will process this data, translate them into the “language of Psychology” (i.e. determine terminological foundation) and select corresponding tools for measuring these qualities in practice. Then students will create digital twins, with the use of which a diagnostics of university students will be conducted.

“Graduates majoring in Workplace Psychology are oriented at working in law enforcement agencies,” notes Dean of the Faculty of Psychology. “They fulfill functions of corporate consultants and work with personality; their responsibilities include diagnostics, consulting and development (conducting trainings, etc.). Participation in the project will allow future psychologists to polish these skills in the frameworks of their practical activity by creating something new, interesting and useful.”

Any university student can address the project group and with their assistance determine the extent at that he or she is corresponding with the image of a perfect professional, and what is necessary to do in order to develop required personal qualities. In order to help them, future psychologists within the project will hold consultations on results of the diagnostics, as well as provide trainings, developmental groups and assistance in compilation of personal trajectories of development.

Development of online service for self-diagnostics

The acquired experience will become a foundation for development of online service, using which every student will be able to complete a test and get the answer regarding his or her compliance to the most important qualities of a professional in one sphere or another. The work on development of the online service will be of interdisciplinary nature: aside from psychologists, it will involve future programmers and designers.

“School leaver or student can address this resource at any stage, complete the diagnostics and obtain some kind of a portrait-reflection which will allow him or her to see how much he or she complies with the image of a perfect specialist. This will allow students to understand whether they’ve chosen the right sphere of development. Or perhaps they possess qualities that are necessary in other sphere of activity. The diagnostics also can reveal qualities that need to be improved. In such case, a person will understand the way that he or she will be able to perfect his or her qualities by oneself,” says Elena Soldatova.

The platform will take into account perceptive specificities of the new generation of students: for users’ comfort, information will be presented in the form of animated graphics, interactive games and other tools. The portal is planned to be launched in 2021.

Azaliya Sharafutdinova; photo by: Oleg Igoshin
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