Technical Assistance Brief: Teaching Soft Skills Through Workplace Simulations in Classroom Settings

Excerpt from Technical Assistance Brief:

Soft skills, the employability skills that speak to a worker’s interpersonal skills and character, rose to prominence in the early 1990s as a critical component of worker productivity with the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS). Today, the need to coach new hires about soft skills is an accepted fact among employers and those who prepare individuals for the workforce.

There are three common methods for creating opportunities for experiential learning of soft skills. One is interactive teaching, through which instructors facilitate exercises that provide opportunities for experience, practice, reinforcement, and reflection.

The second method for teaching soft skills experientially is to use a coach in a workplace setting. On-the-job training work experience, internships, and work-study programs are all examples of teaching both hard (technical) and soft skills in the workplace in a manner that achieves optimal authenticity.

The third method is to alter aspects of the classroom setting where general education or hard skills are being taught to workforce entrants so that the classroom simulates the workplace.