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Design of a mobile application to promote soft skills acquisition in young children

Authors: Nicole Lewis; Daniela Gachago; Aletia Chisin;

Design of a mobile application to promote soft skills acquisition in young children

Abstract

The acquisition of soft skills among young children is of paramount importance, as these skills are highly valued in today's workplace. Research indicates that the ages of four-to-five are an ideal margin for soft skill acquisition in young children, taking advantage of children's receptiveness to new experiences. In this context, an exploratory study was conducted using Engeström's third-generation Cultural Historical Activity Theory model as a theoretical basis and incorporating a methodological framework of Collins and Brown's Design-Based Research. A co-creative process was used to ideate a blueprint for a mobile application that would develop creative thinking, communication, and social media literacy among young children within the local context of the Western Cape. Through this process, two new design principles were uncovered, alongside further principles and guidelines, to support the development of mobile applications for young children targeting soft skills development in a localized manner, with a focus on structured design principles governed by co-creation and literature reviews to support informal educative learning. In conclusion, this exploratory study provides a blueprint for addressing gaps in the literature and serves as a helpful guide for educators and developers looking to instill soft skills among young children through the use of mobile technology.

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