Updating Work Types: Background, rational and action

Over the past year, AATIS has undertaken detailed research to better understand how users are engaging with our resources. A large part of this review focused on the Career Interest and Work Type Explorers, both highly valued resources on the Australian Apprenticeship Pathways (AAPathways) website.

The Career Interest and Work Type Explorers allow users to find out more about the types of work that best suit them, along with the industries and occupations most aligned with their preferences. Our review of the work types and how they relate to existing careers frameworks revealed a few things. Primarily, it demonstrated that updates to both the Career Interest Explorer and Work Type Explorer are needed to improve overall user experience.

How the resources work together

The Career Interest and Work Type Explorers were first developed more than a decade ago, with little change in the years since. The original seven work types used on the AAPathways website mirrored other popular resources at the time. While five of the work types related to Holland’s Theory of Career Choice (RIASEC categories), the final RIASEC code was split into two categories.

The Career Interest Explorer used these seven work types to form an easy-to-use quiz. Structured around 12 questions per work type, the quiz helps users identify the work types most related to their preferred work environment.

From this, users could explore Australian Apprenticeship industries or occupations related to their chosen work types. Alternatively, users could move straight to the Work Type Explorer to explore occupations related to each work type.

Time for an update

The Career Interest Explorer is one of the most popular resources on the AAPathways website. Despite this, a significant number of users exit the quiz before completion. A review of the user experience demonstrated that the Career Interest Explorer was too long. The review also revealed that users who exited the quiz had already completed many of the questions, but did not continue to the results page. We wanted to learn more about why these drop-offs were happening, and how to address them.

Additional data was collected by AATIS to enable a systematic review of the questions in the quiz. Data from 200 participants was collected in a randomised version of the quiz so that users would not know which questions related to each work type.

A factor analysis of this data was then conducted. It demonstrated two key items:

  1. Answering patters mirrored the Holland’s RIASEC categories
  2. Each category only needed six questions to get a useful result.

Using data analytics, we have removed the questions which are least predictive of each work type and maintained a range of questions highly related to the work type. The result of this analysis means that the Career Interest Explorer can be reduced to a shorter quiz, while maintaining the validity of the tool.

The analysis also revealed some other key pieces of information:

  • The answering patterns of participants matched that of Holland’s six RIASEC categories, not the seven work types.
  • The two work types which were originally split from one RIASEC category showed no difference in answering patterns.
  • Participants who were highly rated on one were also highly rated on the other.
  • Participants would therefore need to explore both work types to understand their full range of options related to their work preferences.

These results demonstrate that a better user experience would occur if the work types more closely reflected the original theory they were based off. This would also enable career advisers and others working with career researchers to use the AAPathways resources in conjunction with other information related to Holland’s Theory of Career Change.

What we are doing

AATIS is updating the work types to better reflect Holland’s RIASEC categories, and the Career Interest Explorer questions to shorten the quiz to a more appropriate length.

You will see a change in the number of questions for each category of the Career Interest Explorer, and to the names and descriptions of each work type. Later this month, you will see a change to the number of work types, reducing them to six categories. These changes are designed to avoid as much disruption as possible for users, while enhancing the experience of anyone moving through these resources.

The new work type titles more closely reflect Holland’s RIASEC categories. However, they are not an exact match as they are not validated against this theory. Resources on the AAPathways website are not designed as formal assessments, and only deal with Australian Apprenticeships related information. It is important that we are not misleading users by implying that these resources are formal assessments rather than quizzes and resources designed to facilitate career research.

Other areas of the website which use the work types – such as the Industry Information pages and the Job and Training Descriptions search – will keep their existing functionality. The work type category update will be reflected in these.

What this means for you

The updates to the Career Interest and Work Type Explorer will improve the user experience for those looking to find information about potential Australian Apprenticeship careers. They are being progressively rolled out to minimise disruption for users.

If you use these resources with groups, you can look at the updated resources before running your next session. The updated Career Interest Explorer will take less time to move through, so you should account for this in any session plans. We anticipate it will take users approximately 10 minutes if they are carefully considering each item.

Instead of seven categories, users will see six categories in both the Career Interest and Work Type Explorers. The Find My Work Type activity sheets are being updated to reflect this change.

If you are using the seven categories in other ways, you should consider updating your resources to match the new work types.

/AAPathways Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.