Young Thinkers Program takes off in the UAE

The EdPlus Lifelong Learning Initiatives team has had its hands full launching the Young Thinkers Program (YTP), a college and career readiness platform for Emirati youth developed by ASU and the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE). Already, the platform has more than 2,500+ course enrollments and was just announced in Abu Dhabi and Al-Ain within the last 30 days. 

The platform is designed for public high school and public university students ages 15-25 and includes interactive modules in English and Arabic that will help Emirati youth develop skills in areas such as networking, writing resumes, public speaking, time management and digital literacy. The platform also includes live-chat capability with ASU Success Advisors who are fluent in both Arabic and English and available during times of the day when Young Thinkers students are most likely online. 

Bethany Weigele, Senior Director of Lifelong Learning Initiatives at EdPlus is excited about the momentum the program has so far. “The pace of registrations really demonstrates the need for a college and career readiness platform that is available at the touch of a finger,” she said. 
Currently, 15 courses are developed (14 are live) and the plan is to have 18 courses live by December 31 and 24 courses live by June 30, 2019. So far, the courses with the most registrations are How to Study Effectively, College Selection Tips, Public Speaking, Time Management and Online Safety, according to Tiffany Lehn, assistant director, Lifelong Learning Initiatives at EdPlus. 

Lehn explained that most of the course content is created by EdPlus using existing ASU curriculum and culturally aligned for the region. Some of the courses are created by a contracted content specialist from Egypt. To optimize and continuously improve the platform, Lehn said that the team will be looking at how new users are engaging - computer versus mobile; how much time they are spending; who has completed the culturally-aligned me3 college major and career assessment; what times of day students are engaging; when they are chatting with success advisors and the questions they are asking; the schools they are coming from and the students’ language preferences. 

The EdPlus team working on the Young Thinkers program includes an Instructional Design Coordinator, two Success Advisors (based in North Carolina and Texas) who speak Arabic and English and an Engagement Specialist, a Multimedia Developer and a Program Director based in Dubai. Weigele oversees the ASU, AGFE and in-country relationships, Lehn manages the content development and student engagement teams while Lisa Flesher directs the development of the me3 career and major quiz.