WDARF Grant Call 2020 Results


Nine projects from the WDARF Grant Call 2020 were selected for funding support. These projects were selected on the basis of technical merit, expertise of the research team and its potential impact and contribution to Singapore's workforce development and lifelong learning.

Developing an Impact Evaluation Protocol for SSG’s Skills Framework

National University of Singapore

The project aims to develop an Impact Evaluation (IE) protocol to quantify Singapore’s return on investment (ROI) on the Skills Framework and other upskilling initiatives. It considers (1) employers’ recognition of the need for skills, (2) their willingness to pay for skills, (3) how they pay for skills, and in turn, how this impacts (4) productivity, (5) employee engagement, and (6) retention.  The proposed IE serves two key purposes. The first is accountability, to ensure that the Skills Framework actually leads to outcomes. The second is learning, to offer an evidence base to improve the effectiveness of the Skills Framework in fostering outcomes of interest.

Socio-cultural factors shaping Singaporean Malay-Muslim workers’ decisions regarding employment and training

Dr Mohamad Shamsuri Juhari, National University of Singapore

The project will focus on the socio-cultural dynamics which serve to motivate or inhibit Singaporean Malay/Muslim Community (MMC) workers from actively seeking pathways to enhance their career and work life. It aims to identify and examine specific socio-cultural factors that serve to frame the decision-making processes of working-age adults from the MM community with regards to enhancing their individual career and work life. The project also seeks to recommend solutions to address the challenges posed by these factors.

Developing personalized Chatbots and evaluating their effectiveness as teaching assistants in adult learning

Dr Miao Huang, Temasek Polytechnic

This project proposes to create an AI teaching assistant using a Chatbot, to assist tutors in providing individualized learning experiences and pathways for their adult learners. The Chatbot will have access to learning analytics information of learners to provide highly customizable content for learners with various needs. For example, for the academically slow progressing CET learners, the Chatbot identifies the domains that require more help and directs them to more relevant and specific resources. The instantaneous and efficient communication allows the learner to be proactive in asking questions, seeking clarifications and assistance on the fly, without the fear of being judged for the quantity or content of their inquiries. The Chatbot can also contain assessment or assignment information to help learners to prioritize their time.

Neurophysiological Measures for Task Handling Complexity

Prof Lye Sun Woh, Nanyang Technological University

The proposed project seeks to investigate and possibly develop a new evaluation measure known as the “capability-task quotient” (C-TQ) using neurophysiological characteristics of the operator over a time period when handling various task complexities. The aim is to measure and analyse both short and sustained level of neurophysiological activities and characteristics of the operator over a period of time when handling various task complexities in a certain work environment setting. The results would have potential to reshape how humans are hired, allocated or assessed with regards to a given task or job scope. If market size is an indicator, this would translate into billions of dollars of savings with a more efficient, effective fulfilled workforce with greater latitude to minimise human errors. The type of task learning and training required by the operator can also be enhanced.

Changing Mindsets to Enable Workers to Thrive in an Uncertain Job Market

Dr Patricia Chen, National University of Singapore

This research aims to address the psychological barriers that could hinder workers’ motivation to engage in lifelong learning. The study introduces two theoretically novel mindsets as potential solutions to reduce these psychological barriers (i.e. do not believe that they can learn new, different kind of skills, fear of failure). The first is an “expansive growth mindset” (the belief that one can take up and master new, different kinds of skills) and the second, an “experimental mindset” (an orientation towards approaching any problem through iterative experimenting—including generating various possible solutions, trials-and-error, gaining feedback, revising methods based on the feedback and trying again).

The team will conduct psychological research on Singapore working adults to measure and test the global efficacy of these mindsets. In Aim 1 (i.e. understanding two important psychological barriers to upskilling and reskilling), the team will design and validate measures of these theoretically novel mindsets, and examine their relation with people’s learning attitudes and motivations. In Aim 2 (i.e. designing and testing mindset interventions to address the psychological barriers), the team will design and test scalable mindset interventions to motivate greater engagement in upskilling and reskilling (e.g. greater uptake of SkillsFuture credits). The findings will contribute to possible solutions to enhance lifelong learning in Singapore.

Digital Capacity Building for Own-account Workers in Singapore

Dr Carol Soon, National University of Singapore

The objective of this study is to advance the digital skills and competencies of own-account workers in Singapore through benchmarking a set of job-ready digital skills and mapping a framework for digital skills development. The project seeks to unlock the benefits of digitalisation for a segment of Singaporean workers who tend to be digitally low-skilled so that they too can participate meaningfully in the digital economy. Findings from the study will support the policymaking work of SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), the SG Digital Office (SDO) and the National Jobs Council.

Proactive career planning and development for Singapore Female Health Professionals

Prof Helen Smith, Nanyang Technological University

This study aims to investigate the career planning and development behaviours of Singapore female health professionals (SFHPs), designing a programme to help increase their proactivity in lifelong career planning that considers their personal needs and life plans. An assessment tool will be constructed to evaluate the effectiveness of career planning and development initiatives for SFHPs.  The findings will help Singapore healthcare employers and policy-makers better support and invest in SFHPs’ long-term career planning and development. This can lead to better retention of SFHPs, improved career and work satisfaction, as well as supporting Singapore’s drive to future-proof its professional workforce.