Higher ed institutions tailor their curriculum around the core competencies of a certain discipline, but these learning standards often neglect one crucial area of development — soft skills. While employers preach the importance of soft skills in the workplace, many schools don’t make a concerted effort to improve them as part of their teachings. Most institutions probably won’t offer a course dedicated to soft skill development any time soon, but there are several ways to help students enhance these skills within the existing curriculum.
Assign Group Projects
Many students dread working in groups, but they gain a lot of useful skills throughout this process. Employees often have to collaborate on projects with other team members, so learning how to work together and achieve a common goal certainly simulates real-world practice. When teachers assign group roles, it also gives students a chance to lead, work with different personality types, and resolve any conflicts that might come up during the completion of a task.
Utilize Video Exercises
If you teach an online course or want to avoid taking up class time with oral presentations, videos are another great way for students to practice their communication skills. Nearly every industry requires professionals to present in front of their peers or customers at some point, so it’s important for students to practice public speaking and build confidence. Because video exercises facilitate authentic assessment, they also help students develop higher-level cognitive skills like problem solving and critical thinking.
Promote Peer Review
Peer review works well in conjunction with video exercises, but it’s a useful technique regardless of the assignment type because students benefit from leaving and receiving feedback. Criticizing someone else’s work is easy, but doing so constructively is difficult to master. It’s important for students to recognize the positive and negative aspects of someone else’s work while also communicating their ideas for improvement in an effective way. On the other side, students often gain a new perspective from feedback left by their peers. When it’s done correctly, this type of engagement promotes self-awareness and a willingness to improve. Employees almost always receive feedback on their work, so it’s critical for students to learn how to digest this criticism and use it to get better.
If you’re looking to incorporate soft skill development on a large scale, there are resources out there that can help. Bongo is purpose-built to assess and improve students’ soft skills through two core video platforms. To learn more information about how this technology can help students refine their soft skills, visit Bongo’s website.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]