Building Your Path

What is Career Pathfinding and How Do We Compare it to Google Maps?

Awato is a personalized career pathfinding platform, which differs from commonly used platforms that specialize in building career pathways. Let’s dive into the difference and what makes our method standout. 

What is a Pathway? 

Many educators and employers may not know it, but they work with pathways every day. A pathway is a set of steps that a person can take to become qualified for a given career. A standard pathway may direct a student to get a high school diploma, moving on to a four-year college and degree in marketing, and then entering the workforce as a marketing associate. 

What is wrong with the traditional pathway system?

One of the challenges with pathways is that there are thousands of ways to achieve one’s career goals. When a school or software vendor wants to create a pathway, they will often only create the most common pathway to the desired goal. Learners will often feel limited by these common career paths, as they don’t offer room to customize or experiment with their options once they have started. 

A student may start their path and get directed to enroll in a private four-year college. After looking at their possible student loan debt, they may wish to save money by making use of dual enrollment programs and community college transfer programs. The student is free to do so, but their pathways platform is rigid and locked them into their first choice, forcing them to abandon the use of the platform.

Why did we moved past the idea of pathways?:

  1. Pathways are built manually by an organization or vendor
  2. Learner picks from a limited number of combinations
  3. Students are locked into the pathway they select 

These limitations of an old system lead us to the idea of pathfinding.

What is Pathfinding?

Awato created the first personalized career pathfinding program to address the challenges with individually created pathways. 

Pathfinding is the process of using content development and artificial intelligence to identify every possible pathway to a given career.

The difference between the old way of doing things and ours is:

  1. Pathfinding uses content development and artificial intelligence to identify all possible pathways
  2. Learners are matched to paths through adaptive career assessments 
  3. Learners control their paths, adjusting and substituting various steps as necessary 

Pathways Vs. Pathfinding 

When an organization uses pathways, they are met with a monumental challenge of creating all of the different pathways manually. Furthermore, they are forced to continually update these pathways as job requirements and education options evolve. 

When an organization uses pathfinding, they create the infrastructure to serve all students with their best pathways. Instead of focusing on pathway creation, they can focus on guiding students on which steps make the most sense for them and how they can, etc. 

Directions vs. Google Maps 

To visualize the difference between pathways and pathfinding think about driving to a location. A pathway is like a printed set of directions from Mapquest. You are given a set of rigid directions that don’t allow for unexpected road closures or needing to pull off your route for gas,

Pathfinding is like using Google Maps to get to your destination. Google Maps identifies all of your possible routes, then generates the directions fo you. During your trip, If you go off course, it will find a new route for you to get to your destination.

What are the benefits of Pathfinding?

Working with a pathfinding platform has a number of benefits:

1) Personalization

Pathfinding enables educators to generate hundreds of different pathways for each student and recommend the ones that best fit their goals and interests. With this approach, a student who may want to spend the least amount possible can generate a pathway that meets their needs while another student can choose a pathway that leads all the way through their Ph.d. 

2) Flexibility

Pathfinding helps educators and learners be flexible with pathways. By identifying all the various ways to a career goal, pathfinding can help a student understand how past experiences fit into a new career goal and how different options can be substituted to best fit their needs. 

3) Efficiency

At Awato we support over 800 careers. Each career can have thousands of pathways to become qualified. Pathfinding takes the burden of generating these pathways off of the educators. By using technology, educators can focus on counseling learners on how to make decisions and explore their options instead of manually writing different pathways. Pathfinding frees up time to be spent doing the most critical career development tasks.

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