The Importance of Learning Soft Skills

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We have struggled with the teaching of soft skills for many years without finding a really good way of teaching people to handle their interpersonal transactions in a successful manner.

Soft skills development is finally gaining importance as a priority for all employees, whether they are required to interact with the Customer, a supplier or their peer group in the workplace. As companies downsize or take on new products many more employees are required to develop complicated social behaviours.

Stanford University research cited in the book, “The Hard Truth about Soft Skills” written by Peggy Klaus, showed that 75% of long term job success depends on soft skills mastery and only 25% on technical skills.

Soft skills are the reason why women such as Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, have soared to the very top, overtaking her Harvard contempories. “She was young, brilliant, good looking, you might easily bridle at that, but she is so good at working with people, you couldn’t help but like her”, recalled Sandberg’s first boss, the economist Lant Pritchett.

Our challenge today is how to effectively increase the mastery of soft skills in our employees, managers and leaders.

  • Should we bring everyone together into a classroom and tell them what they need to do better?
  • How about traditional ‘slide ware’ e-learning?
  • How about if we send the employees to a five day workshop on leadership?

The answer to each of these traditional ideas is, “maybe, but there must be something better!” Like the technology available today, it is now possible to develop a learning programme that includes short video, time to think, and opportunities for employees to try what they are learning.  This can be provided by a heavy dose of video-based content in short bursts, so employees can observe the skills being applied, preferably in their own work environment.

 

Why video works:

It‘s to do with the way we process and remember things. “Cognitive overload” refers to times when our short term memory gets overloaded with too much data.  When that happens, our brains literally “dump” information out of the short term memory as more information comes in.  Our short term memory has the capacity of storing content for 5-7 minutes at any given time.  So, that means we start losing information if we try to cram more data into our minds after around 7 minutes.  If we take a break to let our minds process our observations, we can commit that short-term memory to long-term memory, or in other words into learning.

Modlettes are designed perfectly into this learning loop in the human mind.

New emerging data, based upon a series of scientifically validated studies is proving some fascinating things about how we really learn.

For instance, some forgetting is essential to learning. We need to force ourselves to remember something.  The forced recall of learning (e.g. using quizzes or discussion points) actually strengthens the memory, but the forced recall works best after some forgetting occurs.

For learning soft skills we need to watch, observe and then model the behaviours of others. Video delivers content that facilitates observation in ways no other type of content can.  No learner has to be submitted to “role plays” in front of colleagues.  We observe a video and see effective and ineffective examples play out in a safe, non-threatening environment.  We can learn as we watch and begin to make those critical neurological connections that we need to enable us to model our own behaviours when we face similar situations.

Visual images work on multiple levels to reach us. We are hard-wired to remember visual images, and with short video, we link the medium to the way our mind “en-codes” information from short-term to long-term memory.  Micro-learning or modlettes, is the perfect training medium for human learning.

Note:

Modlettes enables you to download your video without using YouTube. Therefore your video clip stays safe and protected in your own channel for the use of your own team members.

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