Create an online soft skill training: The essentials

17 March, 2023| Sunanda Jayanth| 4 min read

In the first part, we took a look at the soft skill learning process. This second part is slightly more technical. Let’s find the best ways to build training for soft skills and show how it can be done, with examples from IMK Opleidingen!

We’ve heard from several learning pioneers, coaches and instructors that soft skills learning can be significantly different from knowledge or didactical learning. If that’s the case, what’s important to keep in mind from a technology perspective?

Are you in the market for a learning platform that is suitable for soft skills training? Keep in mind that it should be able to do the following, at a bare minimum.

Bring blended learning together seamlessly

Online learning environment

We are all too familiar with the accelerated pace of change that COVID brought to the world of learning; the focus has shifted to e-learning and virtual classrooms and continues to gather momentum, with a large percentage of the global workplace becoming “hybrid” over these past two years.

Take the case of IMK Opleidingen, one of aNewSpring’s customers. Their goal is to enable organisations to perform better by developing the insights and skills of employees, resulting in effective behaviour.

In order to implement blended learning effectively in unique ways, IMK Opleidingen encouraged the use of the learning environment (the platform) during training. This took the form of an assignment within the platform, which was then discussed in a plenary session during the training.

Instructors also often referred to the learning platform and videos during training, in addition to having learners download what they wanted to use from within the online learning environment.We are all too familiar with the accelerated pace of change that COVID brought to the world of learning.

Focus on brain-friendly methods

Spaced learning and mixing things up

Learning is one of the most cognitively demanding activities that we can subject ourselves to. So it is important to understand the best ways to learn and which didactical choices work. And by that, we specifically mean including variety in the training programme to activate different parts of our learning mechanisms, spacing the learning regimen with regular repetition and testing. Unless a platform supports brain-friendly learning principles, impact is hard to achieve!

For IMK Opleidingen, this was a key focus area — they wanted to get learners enthusiastic about learning online and completing their assignments. To stretch things a little further, they also wanted to ensure that their key concepts remained top of mind for learners even after the training concluded.

They did this by adding variations within the training, or ‘mixing things up’, which is one of the ways to introduce ‘desirable difficulties’. This enables stronger learning in the long term. For instance, they relied on aggression training with video responses and short tests to reinforce concepts. They also forged links between assignments on the platform for practical examples. Apart from these, nudges and reminders in the form of emails were sent out to help learners repeat the lessons.

Enable social interaction as part of learning

Roleplay and interactive exercises

We are social beings. Discussions and brainstorms often bring out the best in us, helping surface diverse points of view.

Something that is hard to grasp for one learner may be a piece of cake for another. Fostering social interaction can enable the cross-pollination of ideas and concepts.

That is why IMK Opleidingen relied heavily on roleplay based on tests on the learning platform. Some instructors also process PDF exercises on the learning platform to make them interactive.

Rally experts to support you with your goals

A helpful support system

To wrap it up, you need a solid support system. It takes a village, they say, and for good reason! The support of experts who know the learning platform as well as the back of their hands and understand what makes people learn is crucial.

For IMK Opleidingen, aNewSpring support heroes formed that support system. Functioning as colleagues of their team rather than a help desk, they partnered to provide the help that IMK Opleidingen needed, thinking along every step of the way.

Incidentally, their target audience was highly invested in learning but did not want to spend hours studying. They wanted a practical approach that enabled them to start working with what they learnt immediately, and this fit the bill for the kind of support they received from the platform team.

Next steps

There’s definitely more to soft skills than meets the eye, but remarkably, the “Shu-Ha-Ri” concept does justice to the learning process rendering it ideally suited to master any kind of new skill.

Armed with any new learning concept or framework, what you then have to do is connect the dots on your way to implementing a training programme that’s bound to maximise learning and retention for your learners. True behavioural change is hard to come by — but not impossible!

Now that you’ve seen, at a high level, what’s required of a learning platform to support soft skills training, you can choose to learn more about how aNewSpring is ideally suited to level up your learners’ soft skills game. Find out about a host of diverse learning activities that put their learning to the test at every stage of the learning cycle.

Have more questions? Reach out to our learning experts for a no-strings-attached consultation!

Devil in the details Wants to become a fixer-upper

Sunanda Jayanth

Explorer of details. Lifelong chai connoisseur. Apocalypse prepper.

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