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The Importance of Innovating Soft Skills Training

Updated: Mar 12

By: Peter Young, CCDP, BBPH

Published: February 9, 2024

Updated: March 12, 2024


Just before Christmas, I stumbled upon an article about a counselor using Dungeons and Dragons in therapy for youth facing trauma. As a fellow gamer launching a business on gamification for soft skills, this innovative approach resonated with me. A positive learning experience is integral for learners to participate with and benefit from. An experience that gamification and other innovative ideas can assist with.


The Importance of Innovating soft skills training
Innovating Soft Skills Training

“Good Habits Formed at a Young Age Makes All The Difference”

Aristotle said, ‘Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.’ Soft skills like empathy, communication, and adaptability are crucial, yet often challenging to learn.


Why Can Social Interactions Be So Hard?

Social interactions can be hard for a variety of reasons. Ultimately, they rely heavily on the ability to harness and apply soft skills successfully. These skills include communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and more. Traditionally, these skills are taught through formal education and life lessons, with an emphasis on life lessons. Often, people learn about their soft skill deficits after encountering life lessons that come with significant consequences. Experiences with bullying, unemployment, and so on. Highlighting these experiences for the purpose of training are intrusive, and can sometimes hinder a positive learning experience, leading people to experience the fight, flight, or freeze phenomenon, or altogether avoid situations that might expose their soft skill deficits.


The Positive Learning Environment

A positive learning experience facilitates a safe place for learners to experiment and grow according to their goals while reducing problematic behaviours such as non-compliance and resistance. Relevance, appeal, clear objectives, interactivity, choice, collaboration, and immediate feedback are essential to creating environments that resonate and promote retention.


Innovation and Evidence-based Practices Go Hand-in-Hand

Traditional learning environments sometimes lack the resources to effectively teach and assess everyone in the ways that resonate with them individually. Howard Gardner's theory of intelligence emphasized that people have a variety of intelligences including linguistic, logical, spatial, kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist intelligence. This theory, although debated amongst scholars, emphasizes how people showcase different abilities that contribute to an overall level of intelligence. Since intelligence is an indicator of future success in life, learning experiences are deigned to nurture the growth of intelligence. Therefore, it's logical that a variety of activities and assessment procedures is important to include in a positive learning environment. An element that innovative technology and approaches can facilitate.


Innovation bridges the gap between traditional learning environments and real-world situations
Bridge the gap between traditional learning and innovation

Bridging the Gap: Technology and Soft Skills

It is common knowledge that formal education is not enough to facilitate mastery over skills. This is why a vast majority of formal education includes opportunities to apply knowledge through placements and job trials. But these opportunities are often in limited supply, and require coordination, approvals, and investments. Gamification, virtual reality, and other interactive platforms serve to provide a more accessible opportunity to apply knowledge while fostering experiential learning opportunities so learners can enter school, work, and relationships with confidence. It must be acknowledged that the technology and programs being developed continue to improve on creating effective simulations and immersive content, a concern that has previously been identified.


Conclusion: The Paramount Role of Innovation

In conclusion, innovation is paramount in addressing challenges faced by traditional learning environments and enhancing soft skills training. By introducing new ideas and technologies, we can create engaging and personalized learning experiences, adapting to individual needs and equipping learners with essential skills. Ensuring that these technologies are closely monitored and assessed for their efficacy will help to ensure positive learning experiences continue to evolve and foster meaningful personal growth and development.


References

Angel-Urdinola, D., Castillo, C., & Hoyos, A. (2021, May 4). Virtual reality: could it be the next big tool for education? World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/05/virtual-reality-simulators-develop-students-skills-education-training/


Araiza-Alba P., Keane T., Beaudry J. L., & Kaufman J. (2020). Immersive Virtual Reality Implementations in Developmental Psychology. International Journal of Virtual Reality, 20(2), 1-35. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/347807641_Immersive_Virtual_Reality_Implementations_in_Developmental_Psychology


Banks, T. (2014). Creating positive learning environments: Antecedent strategies for managing the classroom environment & student behavior. Creative Education, 2014. Retrieved from: https://www.scirp.org/html/9-6301979_45397.htm


Loveless. B. (2024, January 19). The Learning Pyramid. Education Corner. https://www.educationcorner.com/the-learning-pyramid/



Marenus, M. (2024, February 2). Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Simple Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/multiple-intelligences.html


Markus. J. (2023, December 23). How Dungeons and Dragons is Making its way into therapy. CBC News: Calgary. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/dungeons-and-dragons-therapy-calgary-1.7065300


Marougkas, A., Troussas, C., Krouska, A., & Sgouropoulou, C. (2023). Virtual reality in education: a review of learning theories, approaches and methodologies for the last decade. Electronics, 12(13), 2832. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/371881256_Virtual_Reality_in_Education_A_Review_of_Learning_Theories_Approaches_and_Methodologies_for_the_Last_Decade



About the Author

Virtual Encounters Owner, Soft Skills Seminar Facilitator
Peter Young, CCDP, BBPH

Meet Peter, a lifelong learner driven by passion for innovation and personal growth. Positioned in the middle of seven siblings growing up, Peter comprehends the pivotal role soft skills play in maintaining relationships and finding success. From providing behavioural counselling and career counselling to hosting team-building events and activities, Peter's diverse work experiences fueled his curiosity to learn and share knowledge. Armed with a degree in behavioral psychology, real-world roles in social services, and certification in career development practice, Peter brings a unique perspective. Specializing in soft skills like communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and stress management, he employs immersive virtual reality experiences to craft dynamic, positive learning environments. As a certified Career Practitioner, Peter is dedicated to guiding individuals and organizations toward success in today’s fast-paced workplace. Join him on this exciting journey of unlocking potential through innovative and immersive learning experiences.



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