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Reestablishing the political engagement among the next generation of voters.

Skolevalg brings politics into context for young people who have not yet cast their first vote in an election. The solution mixes digital innovation with educational tools on an innovative e-learning platform to promote democratic understanding and participation for the next generation of voters.

Towards Skolevalg 2024, the platform has been relaunched by Kruso in collaboration with the Danish Parliament, the Ministry of Children and Education, and the Danish Youth Council, and serves as a central platform in the national Skolevalg-program.

Pedagogical approach to strengthening young people's democratic self-confidence

Voter turnout declined for the third consecutive time at the Danish parliamentary election in 2022 – the lowest voter participation in more than 30 years. A development that threatens one of the most important fundaments of the Danish society; democracy.

The prospects of returning to the high voter turnout in the 70s, or the record-high voting percentage at the Municipal elections in 2001, have not been straightforward in times where the share of first-time voters was 2 percentage points below the total voter turnout at the Parliamentary election in 2015.

In 2015, the first Skolevalg was held – a 3-week long election campaign-like educational program arranged as an authentic voting process for a parliamentary election. The purpose was to strengthen young people's democratic education and their political self-confidence, which is considered as a crucial factor for whether you become an engaged or passive voter in the future.

Value-creating user tests with output

Kruso has developed the relaunch of the platform leading up to Skolevalg 2024, with a goal to improve both the dissemination value and the learning value. This has been achieved through improved usability and a higher level of engagement.

A series of user tests showed a low attention span among the students, which resulted in having shorter texts and more direct interactions. In addition, we increased personalization by allowing students to customize their profiles, provide feedback, and let the user actively participate in and influence the content that is shared.

To ensure a safe learning environment, teachers can easily remove inappropriate comments to prevent bullying. The overview for teachers is designed to be clear, so nothing is overlooked. For this, a color-coded status makes it easy for teachers to see how far each student has progressed in the learning process. Teachers also play a central role of the quality control of the content, as they must approve content before it is published.

The final solution was developed through a blended design process in collaboration with an external UI design team and presents a game-inspired design with soft edges and pastel colors. The design contributes to a welcoming and user-friendly experience, where gamification is also integrated into the platform. This also promotes engagement by using reward systems, challenges, and milestones, making the user experience both more fun and more motivating.

Watch Joakim Hinrichsen - UX Designer from Kruso, talk about how we have optimized the solution through user tests and blended design processes.

From concept to classroom

For three weeks, students will familiarize themselves with 24 key issues, and then select 3 they want to advocate for leading up to the election. Afterwards, students are equipped to participate in the political debate by strengthening their awareness of argumentation and rhetorical devices used to influence the political agenda. It all culminates in students investigating and considering the parties' positions.

The entire course prepares students to vote and cast their ballot when they gain the right to vote. Democracy is something that needs to be learned and practiced. Therefore, it's important that we equip young people to participate in representative democracy – Young people should experience that it is meaningful, and that it makes a difference to get involved.

Watch to Christian Juul Lentz - Project Manager from School Election, explain the educational program.

It's no secret that the schedule was tight - and both Kruso and we as a customer have been aware of this from the beginning. Nevertheless, I feel that the bumps we had anticipated have been handled flexibly, and together we have come up with the best solutions.

- Christian Juul Lentz, Projektleder, Skolevalg

Technical foundation

The platform is pieced together using a best-of-breed approach, where the best of all worlds meet. The solution is deployed in Kubernetes's docker container system, which gathers the solution and provides access to automatic up and down scaling depending on how many visit the site at the same time. During development, the solution was stress-tested among other things to ensure stability.

The solution's video functions were created in collaboration with Qbrick. A solution where the students themselves made debating interviews and critically engaged with each other's contributions. Additionally, the new platform was moved to Umbraco – a CMS that made editorial work easier and more manageable.

We have received a solution that is much more user-friendly and flexible to work with than the one we had before. Of course, this is not something that a school student or user of the site would think about, but it has been fantastic for us who work with it.

- Christian Juul Lentz, Projektleder, Skolevalg

71,000 students - 1 Skolevalg

On January 15, Skolevalg 2024 welcomed more than 71,000 students from 710 schools spread across 96 municipalities. The platform was subjected to maximum load with over 2250 video uploads and several thousand visitors at the same time without crashing. In addition, 52,000 comments were written and over 20,000 reactions to videos were given. Moreover, Skolevalg 2024 featured 425 physical debates at primary schools across the country, some of which were live-streamed via the platform.

The election concluded in a highly charged atmosphere and high spirits as 200 youth politicians took to the Landsting Chamber at Christiansborg to follow the announcement of the results for Skolevalg 2024.

The national Skolevalg in schools' 9th and 10th grades from 2015 may have contributed to demystifying the voting process for the slightly younger Generation Z, the now 18-27-year-olds, while Generation Y, which includes the now 28-43-year-olds, did not have the same early encounter with the voting process.

- Kasper Møller Hansen, Professor og Valgforsker ved Institut for Statskundskab, Københavns Universitet

Visit Nørrebro Park School when Skolevalg is on the schedule.

Noticeable changes in the political landscape

75.1% of the eligible 18-year-old Danes cast their first vote at the Municipal and Regional Elections in 2017. This was 4 percentage points more than at the Municipal and Regional Elections in 2013 and 17 percentage points more than in 2009. The young first-time voters' turnout was on the same level as the 50-59-year-olds. The voter turnout among young voters aged 19-29 also increased from a turnout of under 50% in 2009 to 60% in 2017.

The parliamentary election in 2022, as mentioned, saw a declining voter turnout for the third consecutive time, but there was an inspiring highlight among the 18-year-old voters, who for the first time voted more than the average. For comparison, they were about 2 percentage points below the total voter turnout in 2015, while they are now almost 1 percentage point above.

Want to to know more about the solution?

If you have any questions, please reach out to us.

Anders Frey Birkmose

+45 41 95 33 30