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Feasibility of e-Learning for Non-Technical Skills

Written By Pratibha Siddhanti

Feasibility of e-Learning for Non-Technical Skills

In recent years, many organizations have increasingly taken to adopting online training methods. Online training serves a way to create, foster and meet the needs of employees’ professional development. This is especially true for those organizations that need to deliver “hard skills” such as operating machinery, computer skills or safety standards to their employees.

Increasingly, HR departments are also looking to e-learning as a means to teach “soft skills, people skills, or non-technical skills” to employees. The most common topics requested by the HR department in this field include: leadership, communication skills, decision making, conflict resolution, time management, management techniques, teamwork and foreign language skills. This is still in its infancy though, and so some businesses ask, “Can you effectively teach non-technical skills online?”

Here, I would like to present a few strategies used to teach non-technical skills:

  • Role Plays: Role plays offer practical and interactive scenarios to learners. Scenarios are created based on everyday workplace situations, accompanied by multiple possible outcomes. This enables the learner to relate to the scenario and allow him to choose the best outcome.
  • Simulated Conversations: This form of simulation allows the learner to observe and listen to a conversation between two or more persons. This strategy allows the learner to observe the behaviors of others and their outcomes. This is one of the most effective strategies to teach non-technical skills.
  • Job Aids: This is like a support tool to supplement learning and helps the learner to use his knowledge and skills at the workplace. Job aids can be in the form of procedural or informational guides. They are particularly useful in those courses containing difficult-to-memorize procedures, and to refresh one’s knowledge learnt previously, but not used frequently.
  • Images and Visuals: One of the best approaches to teaching soft skills is through images and visuals. Meaningful graphics, photos, illustrations, animations etc. enhance learning, increase the impact of the course, and most importantly, help engage learners, thus reducing the gap between human and computer interaction.

The strategies shared here are just a few among many.

View on E-book How To Start E-learning in Your Organization: 5 Basic Considerations

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  • I am sorry to say that I do not have any specific suggestion other than to say that in my opinion the most significant non-technical skill is the ability to Listen combined by the ability to turn what one hears into constructive and forward looking suggestions by appropriately communicating them to others — seems to me that building elearning sessions which are based on developing listening skills and subsequently communicating what the listener has learned by a process of asking questions is the appropriate manner. By asking the question — How about …? one suggests the topic and opens it for discussion instead of others reacting to eliminate such suggestion.