LifeVersity is all about providing students with equal opportunities and access to personal and professional development skill courses. Our focus is on 21st-century soft skills; those skills that are essential for day-to-day life and are needed for most occupations or roles, thus they are also referred to as life skills or transferable skills. They are skills such as Public Speaking, Leadership, Interpersonal Communication, Productivity and Time Management, and so on.
While formal education provides hard skill education, soft skills are sometimes overlooked. Here is where we come into play. Thanks to students-for-students and CLI we made LifeVersity into a place where students can learn soft skills in. We offer all of our 21-st century skills courses 100% for free for Erasmus University students. Upon completion, students will also receive a certificate.
We have a project team with a dedication to innovating education and trainers that are passionate about teaching and developing their students. What makes our courses different is the focus on the active learning and creating a safe, informal atmosphere. Instead of being just a one-time workshop, our courses take a small group of students on a 6-week journey to explore a particular skill. This gives the opportunity for students to gradually build upon and receive feedback and techniques to further develop their skills. Instead of just focusing on theory, week after week students are put in various situations and through different exercises, they will put these skills into practice.
Our students are a big part of LifeVersity success too. We are lucky to have a positive response on campus among students across different faculties and programs. Our courses have become a great place for students to network and meet like-minded people in a diverse and positive environment. Their feedback is important for us because it helps us to create new courses targeting the skills they want to improve.
To sum it up, we are successful thanks to a combination of a passionate core team, an amazing and dedicated group of trainers, and curious students with a passion for self-development.
Since we have started LifeVersity a little over two years ago, we have received over 1500 applications and enrolled over 900 students across all 19 of our courses. When we started, having only a public speaking course, we already had over 100 applications but were only able to train 30-40 students. Thanks to this overwhelming interest, we later added another 18 courses based on student preferences and feedback. Due to the COVID-19 situations, we have been forced to cancel some of our courses and adapt others to an online environment which also affects the number of students we can intake.
Now, we are back and have learned through this challenging situation. All our courses now belong to one of our six tracks:
- Erasmus Public Speaking Academy
- Communication Track
- Leadership Track
- Well-Being Track
- Creativity & Innovation Track
- Career Track
Overall, we were able to develop more courses and to improve them even more to offer our students the best education. Next to our normal courses, we have also introduced Masterclasses. In comparison to our usual six-week courses, Masterclasses only entail three sessions and therefore, deliver a unique learning experience for students. All in all, this offers student a unique choice of soft skill courses based on their personal needs.
The main take outs that we have had that could be useful for faculties are: be flexible, be creative & make it fun, and ask and listen to the feedback.
Given the COVID-19 situation, students spend so much time online, not only for the lectures and seminars but also to do their assignments and workgroups. This can take a toll on their productivity and engagement in class. What we have noticed is that by changing the duration of our sessions (we went from a 3 hour on campus class to 2 hours zoom session) and shortened our courses from 8 to 6 weeks. We work in small groups of 8 to 10 students which give us the flexibility to make everyone participate and make the sessions dynamic.
Being creative and make use of different educational tools works wonders, especially if you manage to make it fun as well. We’ve created an interactive Canvas environment for our courses, stimulating student engagement, and preparation for the classes. Additionally, we produced over 130 educational videos for our courses and tried to make them as fun and appealing as possible using relatable script writing and video editing. This made it easier for students to invest their time watching them and learning.
And finally, we always ask and listen to the feedback. Listening to student feedback allowed us not only to implement changes in the content and flow of our courses but also to create new courses based on student interest. In addition, our team mostly consists of students or fresh alumni, thus allowing us to be closely connected to students and their needs. That is also one of the reasons why many students come back to us and take multiple courses.