Regardless of where your employees are in their employment cycle, soft skills are fundamental. But unlike technical skills, they’re mostly intangible and relatively hard to measure. This is why many employers have traditionally taught them in a classroom setting – at least until recently. With Covid-19 making most face-to-face interactions difficult, remote learning has become the go-to (and in many cases the only) delivery method for soft skills training.
Luckily, authoring tools like Easygenerator make it simple for employees to create and share their own courses. But whether you’re teaching colleagues how to encourage better team dynamics, improve customer service, or communicate more assertively – there are some mistakes you need to watch out for when teaching soft skills online. Here are seven of the most commons ones.
Mistake #1: Not focusing on one skill at a time
It can be tempting to batch multiple skills together. But when implementing a soft skills training for employees teaching several soft skills at the same time is way less effective than focusing on just one. Indeed, when it comes to e-learning, less is often more. So, even if there’s some crossover between different skills, keep your course as focused and brief as possible.
As with any kind of training, you need to decide first on your learning objectives. You can then use those objectives as a measure for keeping your content as tight as possible. Make sure also you limit the length of your course so that people can go through the material in one go.
Mistake #2: Not making your course interactive
Many soft skills are actually people skills in disguise. Think of negotiation, collaboration, listening skills, or interpersonal skills – we learn to master them in relation to others. So, to get better at them, we need a certain level of interactivity.
Face-to-face training often uses role play. This can easily be replicated in online training, with real-life mentors guiding employees through realistic scenarios. By simulating actual situations, workers can directly experience the outcome of various decisions they make. You could even use AI-based online scripts that allow employees to interact with virtual characters.
Mistake #3: Not asking employees what they need
Soft skills are intangible and can be hard to quantify. Employees will naturally be better at some of those skills than they are at others. But like technical skills, they can always be trained and improved upon.
Although a top-down approach to learning is only advocated these days in a limited set of circumstances, soft skills – in particular – require a bottom-up approach. After all, nobody’s better placed than your employees themselves to tell you which abilities they’re falling short on.
You can use surveys or assessments to get feedback on what they’d like, and then use this to come up with customized online training.
Mistake #4: Not leveraging Employee-generated Learning
Whether teaching conflict resolution, team building, or time management, many employees will welcome the opportunity to create e-learning courses for their less-experienced colleagues. They know it will deepen their own understanding of the topic while increasing their status in the organization as a subject specialist.
Putting in place user-friendly authoring software like Easygenerator will help lower the barrier for employees to share their training material online. Employee-generated Learning also has the advantage of being one of the most cost-effective delivery methods around.