Closing the Soft Skills Gap: A Case in Leveraging Technology and the “Flipped” Classroom with a Programmatic Approach to Soft Skill Development in Business Education
Keywords:flipped classroom, active learning, educational technology, curriculum development, computer simulations, project management, leadership, teamwork
There is a clear “gap” between skills graduates acquire in college and skills needed to succeed in today’s competitive, dynamic workforce. This article outlines benefits and challenges of integrating “soft” skills into business curriculum to fill this “gap” through a two-pronged strategy: adopting a programmatic approach to “soft” skill development and redesigning courses by leveraging technology and the “flipped” classroom. Insights are provided from implementation in a large research institution’s undergraduate business program and, specifically, in the design of its project management course. Results are shared regarding students’ performance (assessed through computer-based simulations), perceptions, and endorsements of leadership and team building competencies at the course-level and job placement data are shared for the program in comparison to other majors in the college-level, which indicate the recommended pedagogical strategies and technology integration yield favorable outcomes. This study provides unique insights for other institutions, programs, and educators implementing competency-based “soft” skill initiatives. Implications for future initiatives and research are discussed.