Soft skills and experiential education, huh?

A simple, but wise phrase: “learning by doing”.

Sometimes, we need to do something in order to understand its meaning. Sometimes, we need to fail in order to learn from our mistakes and be ready the next time.

Experiential education is certainly not something complicated. It’s cooking a burnt omelet,

it’s nailing with a hammer and succeeding not to hit your finger, it’s the collective / team effort for a common goal, it’s all those activities.

One category (if I could set it so) that caught my interest early on was the training of Soft Skills in an experiential way (Short term training on a particular skill). Are you wondering what are those skills? Here we go:

• Effective Communication

• Leadership

• Crisis Management

• Project Management

• Team Bonding activities

• Presentations Skills, etc.

Those are the skills that we all have on a small or large level and are quite important in the labor market. Through the interaction of people involved in training, through interactive exercises and group or even individual activities, discussing and exchanging views on what we just did, we come to conclusions on how to use these skills into improving our everyday life and also to make our participants have fun.

The last six years I deal with training on Soft Skills, making presentations in Greece and abroad, to people from 14 to 35 years, showing them how much fun it is when we learn by playing.

Recently I participated in an event called Connect 2 Collaborate, where I was able to participate in two different trainings, one for Effective Communication and one for Group Collaboration. In a group of 20-25 people, young people of all ages for 2 days, built a house with Lego blocks, threw oranges to each other with the goal not to fall down, gave instructions to people with closed eyes (they had just met) on how to cross a path of “icebergs” to reach unharmed the other side and worked together to build a tower with only some thin spaghetti, a tape and a marshmallow.

Through all these exercises we learned how to communicate effective with each other, under adverse conditions, and realized how important it is to have proper teamwork to emerge the best possible result under the pressure of the time.

“Soft skills are personal attributes that enhance an individual’s interactions, job performance and career prospects. Unlike hard skills, which are about a person’s skill set and ability to perform a certain type of task or activity, soft skills relate to a person’s ability to interact effectively with coworkers and customers and are broadly applicable both in and outside the workplace.”

Experiential training on Soft Skills is an easy and enjoyable way to improve ourselves in a skill that is lagging behind, to have fun and meet new people.

Written by Nikos Foros

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