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Leading adult education through support for and the effective application of technology.


Soft and Hard Skills That Are in Demand

Posted on 1/14/2019

The start of 2019 brings with it lists for the new year. One such list comes from LinkedIn in the form of in-demand soft and hard skills that employers desire most in current and potential employees. According to the LinkedIn data, here are the top five soft skills bosses are looking for:

  • Creativity
  • Persuasion
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Time Management

Regarding hard skills, not surprisingly, the vast majority of top in-demand skills are technology-related, including cloud computing, artificial intelligence, UX design, mobile app development, audio and video production, and digital and social media marketing, although non-technical skills such as people management, sales leadership, translation, and journalism also make the list. For our adult learners, they are able to acquire hard skills through short- and long-term certificate programs, post-secondary academic opportunities, and even self-directed online learning. On soft skills training, though, when we look at our lessons and curricula, is teaching these and other soft skills a part of our instruction?

Technology gives us the ability to incorporate soft skills training into our teaching. According to Matthew Lynch, there are a variety of tech tools teachers can use to target specific soft skills. For example, there are many tech tools that enable students to collaborate with one another. When students work together to complete assignments, these activities give students opportunities to use soft skills that we teach to work through challenges. Similarly, there are productivity and time management tools that help students stay focused and budget their time to manage their busy lives. Finally, as our world becomes increasingly technology-infused and we encounter the frustration that comes with new things, this gives us all the chance to learn to become flexible and adaptable so that we are not overwhelmed and stressed out by objects meant to make our lives easier!

Take some time to think about how your students will acquire these soft and hard skills for life in the 21st century, and then build this skills training into your instruction.

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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.