New cards, images and job-titles: 2022 Update to Challenge Cards

JP Michel

Yesterday, 464 students did the digital Challenge Cards sort. Thanks to your hard work, their perspective on careers is now changed, forever. 

At SparkPath, we're working hard to make sure that this time next year, we increase our impact exponentially. What would it take to get 10,000 students doing the Challenge Cards, everyday? How can we maximize the experience when students do the Challenge Cards?

Our path to reach these goals is one of constant improvement. Since the launch of the Challenge Cards at the NCDA conference in 2017, we’ve made significant changes to our content, format and supporting tools and resources. Sometimes, these changes are small and fly under the radar, other times the changes are significant and require a formal update. 

This week, we made several changes across both the Challenge Cards and Skilled Trades cards that are noteworthy. Thank you for reading them, and I look forward to your comments and questions.

  1. Changing how students view job titles

We doubled down on our point of view regarding job titles. We want students to understand that the job titles on the back of the cards are suggestions, not prescriptions. To clarify this, we made the following changes:

  •  “Sample Careers” instead of “Careers” 

On the back of the cards, the white band is now titled “Sample Careers”, instead of “Careers”. We want students to see this list as inspiration. There are so many ways to contribute to a challenge and we're only listing a few of them on the cards.

  • New bullet on each card: +Add your own idea

We added a new bullet on each card that says “+Add your own idea.” Again, this is to highlight the ever-changing nature of job titles, and how this will always be in flux. Our hope is that this change will help students continue to think broadly about how they want to contribute to their challenge. 

  • Added new job titles

We made several updates to job titles, to keep track of changes in the labor market. We also added new job titles that reflect ‘unique’ contributions to the Challenge. In this new edition, you will find titles like: Cytotechnologist, Metaverse Designer, Musician, Solar Panel Installer, Medical Illustrator and more. We want to peak the curiosity of students so they are interested in learning more.  

  1. Design changes to existing cards

During this round of changes, we also decided to modify a few existing cards based on feedback we've received. Here are some changes you might notice:

  • Reverse Engineer the Brain: new image

The Reverse Engineer the Brain card offers a complex topic that some students struggled to grasp. To make the idea more accessible, we create a new beautiful image to spark student’s interest. 

  • Advance Health Informatics is now Connect Data-Driven Healthcare

We've renamed the Advance Health Informatics card to Connect Data-Driven Healthcare. This will help more students see the importance of why data/informatics can help people. We’ve also replaced the image, focusing more on the health side than the data side. 

  • Dozens of additional design changes

We've also made small changes to images throughout as we continuously do. One of our aims is to ensure gender and skin color representation so that students can ‘see themselves’ in the challenges. We worked with an artist to tweak existing images to achieve this. We also adjusted the font size and margins on the cards to make them more readable. 

  1. New Challenge Cards

Another exciting change in this round is the addition of three new Challenge Cards. To choose the themes of the cards, we looked at current trends and also at student feedback. We added the following three cards: 

  • Drive Sports Performance
  • Innovate Through the Blockchain
  • Take Care of and Learn from Animals


    I encourage you to take a deeper look by doing the digital card sort, where you can find the new cards today. Reading each one of these three cards will help you see what they're adding to our overall deck. As you may remember, the original Challenge Cards started with 24 cards and we've grown now to over 56 thanks to your feedback and input.

    In February 2023, you will be able to purchase this new version of the physical Challenge Cards and Skilled Trades cards on our website. We've also decided to keep the Challenge Cards and Skilled Trades separated for now, but we're considering integrating them in the future. 

    In the future, we plan on continuing to make changes to the cards to keep them fresh and relevant. Here are several ideas we’ve considered for the future to continue to grow and impact more students:

    • Add options for students to create their own Challenge Cards

    This would explore the number of available challenges and push students to think deeply using the Challenge mindset to find their own challenges in the world. 

    • Digitize the Challenge Profile

    When students use the digital Challenge Cards, they generate a Challenge Profile PDF. In the future, we plan on creating an option for students to fill out their profile directly on our platform. 

    • Linking challenges and companies

    To spark students' imagination, we’d like to provide more examples of companies that are working on the challenges they care about. This would make each Challenge Card come to life, by showing real-world applications. 

    As always, we appreciate your support as we continue to grow. When we make these changes, we strive to have a more significant impact on your students. 

    Please keep your feedback coming. We are dedicated to helping you better serve your students deeply. Thank you for being part of the Challenge mindset community!

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