Career Readiness: 7 Soft Skills an LMS Can Help Students Develop
College provides extraordinary opportunities for personal and professional growth. At its best, it enables students to cultivate the necessary skills for their success. But what are these skills?
Click here to learn how to turn static resources into engaging content that your students will love.
While field-specific knowledge remains valuable, HR managers have recently begun to seek out "soft skills"—including communication, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving—above technical expertise. According to one study, 44% of executives named these soft skills as the greatest deficiency among new hires in the U.S.
As you prepare your students for the future, then, it becomes all the more necessary for you, as an educator, to use every tool at your disposal to develop career readiness.
What Is Career Readiness?
Career readiness is a term used to describe the intersection of skills, knowledge, and traits that promotes success in the workplace.
Development of these qualities largely falls to both K-12 and college instructors. Each year, 1 million students begin employment with no plans to pursue a college degree. Consequently, it's their K-12 educations that most prepare them for their careers.
Meanwhile, at the college level, educators also strive to ready students for life after graduation. Estimates indicate that in the next ten years, 60% of jobs will require a college education. This need to cultivate college readiness in your students is clear. But how do you accomplish it?
Good news—there's no need to reinvent the wheel. The tools you already use in your classroom, like your learning management system (LMS), can help students develop the soft skills they need to succeed.
7 Soft Skills a Modern LMS Can Help Students Develop (If Used Well)
More than likely, you're familiar with the ways an LMS can facilitate learning in K-12 and college classes. However, the ways in which your students engage with technology, their peers, and projects in an LMS can also strengthen crucial skills vital for career readiness.
Here is a list of soft skills an LMS can help students develop:
Coherently expressing one's ideas is necessary to success in any classroom. This is also true in the workplace. New hires interact with many individuals—co-workers, management, and clients—and the ability to communicate well is a must.
An LMS creates a unique environment in which students can express their ideas and hone their communication skills. Moreover, the format mirrors online communications in many office environments, giving students real-world practice in an academic setting.
Group projects allow you the opportunity to introduce students to the dynamics of collaboration. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ability to work well with others tops many HR professionals' lists of desirable qualities (and soft skills) in new hires. It’s almost always mentioned in conversations regarding career readiness.
Collaborative work is easily assigned in an LMS, and is a natural part of the discussion forum—students learn more by interacting with each other than they would alone. Moreover, through group work, you can introduce them to team-oriented tools such as Google Docs.
#3 Critical Thinking
The same quality that enables students to process and analyze complex information in the classroom is a sought-after soft skill in the workplace. In business, experts consider that making objective assessments and confident decisions based on available facts is a crucial but often lacking ability.
While students might only learn to memorize facts in a traditional lecture, innovative environments create chances to develop critical thinking. Using an LMS also gives students access to a wider range of research material, affording them more opportunities to synthesize information.
Coming to a solution isn't always easy, whether you're designing a structure for engineering class or navigating complex requirements for a work project. Innovators are an asset to any field, bringing fresh insight and ideas to seemingly unsolvable problems.
Fortunately, there are many exciting avenues for creative projects in an LMS, whether you're building projects directly into the system, creating spaces to showcase student work, or offering forums for feedback.
College can be an overwhelming experience with its complicated schedule and numerous deadlines. Many students struggle to keep up with academic and extracurricular commitments. This need for organization doesn't end at graduation, however. The same skills that define a dependable student make a dependable (and valued) employee.
Organization can become second nature for students, especially using an LMS, where information is centralized. Students can track upcoming deadlines, projects, and commitments with ease. While they're taking ownership of their learning, they're also practicing taking ownership of their careers.
"What kind of leader are you?" This popular question haunts interviewees and college applicants alike. In the college setting, students have the opportunity to determine exactly what their leadership style is and cultivate it accordingly.
Nor does the use of an LMS prevent this. Rather, it provides more situations in which students can lead, whether it's a group project or an extracurricular activity. Plus, as an educator, you have more opportunities to mentor students as they develop their leadership skills.
#7 Time Management
Students have many responsibilities to juggle throughout college, and the ability to pace their projects and track deadlines is, of course, essential. This too translates directly to the workforce, in which fast-paced environments are the norm and being busy is a given.
As with dependability, fostering time management skills in an LMS is painless, because students can monitor their own progress in a central location and stay on task with ease.
Keeping Career Readiness In Mind
Readying your students for their careers can seem like a daunting task, especially as you struggle to keep up with technology and track trends in hiring and employment. Fortunately, like your students, you have access to technological tools and up-to-date strategies that can ensure their success and comfort in the workplace for years to come.
What are your thoughts on career readiness and the role of the LMS? Let us know on Twitter @schoology or in the comments section below.