The world is changing faster than ever. Between technological milestones and climate change, our children will face a completely different world than the one we know. In fact, Two-thirds of today’s children will have jobs that don’t yet exist, according to the IMF. However, traditional education cannot keep up with this pace of change. To prepare children for an unpredictable future, we need education to change radically. This is what NXTLVL is all about. Its innovative game-based comprehensive after-school learning program helps children develop now the vital skills for the future that they will have to face tomorrow.
Konstantinos Papazafeiropoulos, founder and CEO of NXTLVL, explains that “we cannot overcome the challenges of 2050 with an educational method of 1950. Traditional education does not provide students with the right environment to develop vital skills to deal with a world that is far more complex than ever. Children must learn to think creatively, understand rapidly changing environments, and work together to solve complex problems without a clear solution.”
“This is why NXTLVL adopted a new educational approach. A method where children learn to solve real-world problems rather than pass exams. Where they learn to make intelligent decisions and cooperate in situations of uncertainty. Where they learn through experience. Where mistakes are opportunities and children are responsible for all outcomes, whether they are successes or failures,” adds Konstantinos.
To achieve this, NXTLVL aims to help children develop The 12 essential skills vital to their development in the present and fundamental to its success in the future. They call them vital skills for the future and group them into 4 categories: cognitive (creativity, curiosity, critical thinking); interpersonal (cooperation, communication, leadership, ethics); self-leadership (self-awareness, value, resilience); meta-learning (growth mindset, metacognition).
How the program works
Based on years of cutting-edge research and work at top universities including MIT, Harvard and UCL, the NXTLVL team created an innovative curriculum designed for online learning using three core principles: stimulating games, positive facilitation and active cooperation.
For one hour a week, students are immersed in educational games that they mimic complex environments and novel situations they will experience in real life. Without knowing the rules of the games, children make guesses and test, fail, and course-correct until they come up with the most effective strategies. Children become curious, enthusiastic and motivated: they want to learn because it is really fun.
“Smart decision-making is critical to our children’s future. That’s why at NXTLVL we design educational games based on the most important mental models from various disciplines, such as first principles thinking, probabilistic thinking, opportunity costs, compounds, scarcity thinking or systems thinking, among others. Teaching children how to think, not what to think, is the key to helping them cope with an uncertain world,” continues the NXTLVL founder.
Children always lead the discussion, but expert facilitators lead session discussions on a personalized basis, enabling students to actively discover, practice and develop their skills through a set of structured, open-ended questions. Thus, children are in control of their learning and their own goals and outcomes.
To solve tomorrow’s complex problems, children must be very good collaborators and learn to work effectively as a team in chaotic conditions, just as it happens in real life. Therefore, in each class they learn to recognize, understand and accept different skills, motivations, ways of thinking and emotional reactions, and to use the strengths of each to achieve a common goal.