Soft or Work Skills Development of Students for Employment

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Soft or Work Skill Development

We often hear talk about generic work skills, soft skills or digital related, but what are they and why are they important?

Hard skills may shortlist you for a job interview, but soft skills will have you selected, and may include the following which could also be described as personal attributes or selection criteria:

 

Communication, Organization, Teamwork, Punctuality, Critical Thinking, Social Skills, Creativity, Interpersonal Communication, Adaptability and Friendliness (Berger 2016).

 

According to Harvard Business Review article ‘DEVELOPING EMPLOYEES: The Soft Skills of Great Digital Organizations’:

 

Smart organizations have recognized that introducing new technology into the workplace isn’t about hardware or software: it’s about wetware, also known as human beings. If you want to be the kind of nimble business that can make the most of successive waves of tech innovation, you need human beings who can adapt to change. That means equipping each person in your enterprise with the skills and mindset that will help them successfully adapt whenever you introduce new tools like Slack, Basecamp, or even Google Drive into your workplace. But what exactly are these digital skills? They may be more familiar and low-tech than you think (Samuel 2016).

 

These could include goal focus, collaboration, communication, learning, troubleshooting and enjoyment.

 

Another view from traditional work of soft skills would designate planning workload, communication, reports, presentations, collecting/using information, note taking, data literacy, projects, ethics, problem solving, decision making, team work, meetings, negotiation, stress management and reviewing one’s own personal skills and development (Bingham and Drew 1999).

 

How does one develop these soft or work skills for work, community and life?

 

According to Open Colleges Australia the following tips are needed to teach students soft skills:

30 Tips to Teach Soft Skills

  1. Give students authentic choices about how they’re going to learn and be assessed.
  2. Provide a learning environment where trust, initiative, and taking risks are encouraged.
  3. Hold all students to the same high standards.
  4. Model perseverance by not giving up on students.
  5. Support students by helping them find their own way.
  6. Demonstrate alternate paths to content mastery.
  7. Teach to the whole person (not just the “student”).
  8. Treat your students as mature individuals, even when they aren’t following instructions.
  9. Talk about tailoring communication styles for different audiences.
  10. 1Build students’ interpersonal skills through an environment of humility and respect.
  11. Help students practise taking on different roles in different situations.
  12. Differentiate opportunities for personal growth and opportunities for team growth.
  13. Cultivate a sense of responsibility through meaningful and unique contribution.
  14. Assign group exercises that give people the opportunity to speak, listen, write, organise, and lead.
  15. Assess learning through interactive evaluations that demand real-world demonstrations of learning.
  16. Challenge students’ reactions to new obstacles and situations.
  17. Emphasise that the same solution doesn’t necessarily work every time, even in the same situation.
  18. Incorporate exercises in delayed gratification in order to build persistence and grit.
  19. Start grading students on how well they listen to their peers.
  20. Discuss the importance of social-emotional intelligence in the real world.
  21. Design opportunities for students to build and demonstrate resilience.
  22. Make learning a personal experience, highlighting the way education shapes personality.
  23. Create opportunities for students to innovate, both on their own and in groups.
  24. Draw attention to the differences between online and in-person social etiquette.
  25. Reward students who are willing to admit they’re wrong.
  26. Recognise students who are committed to communicating ideas to others.
  27. Hold brainstorm sessions in which students list the possible uses for various soft skills.
  28. Help build motivation through principles of self-reliance (read: Emerson, Thoreau).
  29. Keep an open ear and encourage students to develop new thoughts and ideas they may have.
  30. Develop learning ability through greater awareness of individual learning processes (Briggs 2015).

 

Teaching, training or tutoring approaches to learning need to be centred upon student centred andragogy for adults not teacher centred pedagogy for children, see related article blog FLIPPED Model – Pedagogy or Andragogy in Higher Education Teaching Learning.

 

 

References:

 

Berger, G 2016, Data Reveals The Most In-demand Soft Skills Among Candidates, LinkedIn Talent Blog, 30 August, viewed 30 March 2018, < https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/trends-and-research/2016/most-indemand-soft-skills >

 

Bingham, R & Drew, S 1999, Key Work Skills, 1st edn, Gower Publishing Ltd., Aldershot.

 

Briggs, S 2015, 30 Tips to Cultivate Soft Skills in Your Students, Inform Ed – Open Colleges, 1 May, viewed 30 March 2018, < https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/30-ways-to-cultivate-soft-skills-in-your-students >

 

Samuel, A 2016, ‘DEVELOPING EMPLOYEES: The Soft Skills of Great Digital Organizations’, Harvard Business Review, 5 February, viewed 21 March 2018,
< https://hbr.org/2016/02/the-soft-skills-of-great-digital-organizations >

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Adult Education Pedagogy Andragogy – Apply Complex Learning Teaching Models

Complex Learning Models

 

Application of Learning Theory to a Learning Scenario

 

Recently explained on email some basics of or introduction to digital or e-marketing to a young but conventional account manager and branding person representing an Australian education group in Europe; focus upon reviewing their employer’s digital marketing readiness.

 

Rationale is that what works in main markets in Asia for Australian education through conventional marketing will not work in a more digital Europe, hence requiring new ‘digital’ skills.

 

Complex Learning Project for Young Adults

 

Introduction to Introduction to Digital or e-Marketing and Communications Strategy for Instructional Design and Teaching in Vocational or Higher Education.

 

 

Needs Analysis

 

Analysing pre-existing knowledge of learners and digital literacy to ‘pitch’ course at right level (diagnostic assessment).  Face to face in classroom, delivered online or blended learning.

 

Preview

 

How are students or customers made aware of your services or courses, and interest created (by conventional methods)?

List out elements and actions then report back to group for discussion (informal formative assessment)

What could be done to transform and support marketing and communications by digital technology?

List out elements and actions then report back to group for discussion (informal formative assessment).

 

Present

 

Websites and social media are central to digital or e-marketing.  Present image or online to focus upon an example of good versus sub-optimal websites in same sector.  Highlight and/or elicit good and bad elements.

 

Practice

 

In pairs continue adding to list or elaborating further, then present to group (informal formative assessment).

 

Group adds any key elements not included.

 

Production

 

Individually create custom list for one’s own employer’s website and social media, then in pairs compare with partner (informal formative assessment).

 

Wrap-up

 

Report outcomes to group and elicit further feedback (informal formative assessment).

 

Post Learning Assessment Activity

 

Write up 500 word report outlining approach to digital for one’s own employer including review of existing marketing, existing website and actions for improved website/social media, required resources and how to stay up to date within sector or occupation (formal summative assessment).

NB: Use at least one journal, one course book and one website reference using Harvard system; in addition to any other sources.

More complex, authentic and higher level summative assessment would entail designing a basic website or blog including social media and content; explaining and justifying elements (Trustees of Indiana University, 2017).

 

Connections to Learning Theory – Pedagogy or Andragogy?

 

Constructivism through leading to learning outcomes (David, 2015), cognitivism with learners providing input (Hanna, 2017), connectivism through sharing knowledge and experience in course and after e.g. professional networking (Mergel, 1998).   Supported by andragogy of adults being motivated, experienced, creating meaning and relating to concrete problems or issues round adopting digital (Pappas, 2013).

 

The PPP model was adapted and used from the internationally recognised Cambridge English Teaching CELTA based on adult learning principles of andragogy exemplified by interactive, communicative and student centred learning.

 

Reference List

 

David L. (2015) “Constructivism,” in Learning Theories.  Available at: https://www.learning-theories.com/constructivism.html (Accessed on: 8 November 2017).

 

Hanna, M. (2017) Learning Theory Matrix. Available at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8d28/2833c35fb8b9ea74bf2c930cea22fb1e0fad.pdf (Accessed on: 16 November 2017).

 

Mergel, B. (1998) Instructional Design & Learning Theory.  Available at: http://etad.usask.ca/802papers/mergel/brenda.htm#Cognitivism (Accessed on: 17 November 2017).

 

Pappas, C. (2013) Instructional Design: The Adult Learning Theory – Andragogy of Malcolm Knowles. Available at: https://elearningindustry.com/the-adult-learning-theory-andragogy-of-malcolm-knowles (Accessed on: 20 November 2017).

 

Trustees of Indiana University (2017) Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning: Authentic Assessment. Available at:  https://citl.indiana.edu/teaching-resources/assessing-student-learning/authentic-assessment/ (Accessed on: 2 December 2017).