In a study by Hart Research Associates, 400 employers and 613 students were asked to rate the extent to which college graduates were skilled at using 17 different competencies, including critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and communication. These were the results:
How did such a large gap in perception of skills occur? And how can we close that gap? Experiential learning and lifelike assessment models will be key.
Which skills are essential for graduate success? Educators don’t have to guess—surveys show which skills employers value most.
The goal of educational programs is to prepare individuals for success in the workplace. But while educational programs have honed their teaching methods for developing technical skills and knowledge, employers say that development of soft skills is lacking. Across nearly every industry, employers look for employees with key soft skills such as communication, creativity, digital literacy, learning agility, interpersonal skills, workplace inclusion, and problem solving.
The evolving job market is another reason that soft skills are becoming increasingly important. Many jobs that educators are training students for today don’t yet exist, so adaptability is key to success. As more and more job activities become automated, soft skills, which cannot yet be replicated by machines, will remain relevant. Soft skills not only better position candidates for opportunities, they also ensure advancement and success throughout evolving career roles.
Not only do employers value these in-demand skills, the presence—or lack of —soft skills can also determine an employer’s first impressions of a job candidate. In an interactive interview setting, employers will immediately begin to evaluate the candidate’s skills in communication, empathy, problem solving, and presentation, before they even scratch the surface of their technical skills.
Even the most gifted candidates may not be ideal for a position if they do not have the skill set to communicate and adapt according to the needs of their coworkers and team. Knowing this allows educators to place a higher emphasis on development of soft skills.
Experiential learning is a way of teaching or learning that draws on firsthand experiences, interactions, and interventions. It is different from traditional educational pedagogy, in that it encourages learners to apply what they learn in the classroom and participate in the process rather than passively experience the material.
Some examples of experiential learning include clinical nursing experiences, student teaching, volunteering in community organizations, interning at a company, starting a club, or running a fundraiser. In these ways, students can practice and develop skills highly relevant to their chosen industries, along with general career readiness.
Soft skills are notoriously difficult to assess. A simple multiple choice question cannot accurately determine competency in areas such as communication and creativity. Assessment of life skills calls for lifelike situations. But that daunting requirement leaves many educators scratching their heads. How can a classroom experience simulate real life and how can you measure if it’s increasing learning? As institutions and educators experiment with a variety of approaches, one is gaining increasing popularity among edtech specialists and educators alike due to its universal success: video feedback.
Using video feedback solves the challenge of implementing experiential learning in the classroom in a variety of ways, including:
Request a GoReact demo and we’ll show you how to use video + feedback to teach and evaluate skills essential to career readiness in any learning environment—online or in person.