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e-learning for soft skills


Having encountered much theorising about the benefits (and drawbacks) of e-learning, I am fairly convinced that it is a useful training tool when applied to "hard" business skills, where information is key. However, whilst again there is plenty of theory, there seems to be a shortage of concrete evidence that e-learning can (and does) work for soft skills training.

Does anyone belong to, or know of, any organisations which have implemented soft skills e-learning programmes? And with what degree of success?
Juliet Hilditch

4 Responses

  1. I’d also be interested…
    This is an interesting one – and one to which I’d be interested to know other peoples views on! Especially those who have undergone soft skills training theough e-learning.

  2. What’s soft?
    We are running blended learning programmes in-company for senior management development and these are accredited to Masters level. I think we do soft stuff but it’s difficult to establish what’s soft v hard. Is managing knowledge or learning to learn soft? The issue we have had to address is how to use technology as a tool when there is more than one answer – typical in soft subjects. Happy to tell you more but would like to know your “soft” definition.

    Clive Hook
    PS There’s a bit about us on one of the Partner Pages here on TrainingZONE and/or our website

  3. e-learning for soft skills
    You might be interested in looking at the transcript of Tim Neill’s presentation from the Paris (Amsterdam & Hong Kong) ELearning Expo entitled: ‘Passengers don’t learn!’ at:

    We’ve received many requests for copies of the demonstrations on CD. We believe this response has come because many companies are hungry for real world examples and ideas about the possibilities/capabilities of e-Learning for soft skills, which they can apply in their own companies, with their own staff.

    The ‘Passengers don’t learn!’ presentation is a passionate call for greater learner involvement and obligation in their distance learning programs. Most training delivered via CD, intranet or web is exposing staff to facts and concepts and then simply testing their recall of what they have seen. Rarely is a learner expected to use judgement to demonstrate that they can actually apply what they have learnt.

    TNA believes in immersing learners in situations which are relevant to their jobs. If their job is to sell a product then the training should face them with opportunities to probe a prospect for facts, to virtually interview them, before deciding on the most appropriate solution. Objections should be raised and the learner obliged to select then decide on a plausible response. At each stage there could be feedback – gently nudging the learner towards the best responses – whereas in ‘testing’ mode, there may be no feedback and the decisions taken are saved and made available for management review.

    The interactive examples presented in ‘Passengers don’t learn!’ provide simple but sound models for how this approach can work. A CD-ROM is available containing the actual presentation with working demonstrations.I would be happy to send anyone a copy who is interested.
    Rebecca Jensen
    [email protected]

  4. The answer is in a blended solution
    E-learning can be a good vehicle for soft skills learning but it depends very much on how and where it is used. In my experience it works best when used as part of a thoroughly blended solution, backed up by tutoring and traditional training methods, e.g. classroom based training that contain interactive elements such as roleplays. E-learning can also be a good reinforcement media and quite a natural way of assisting with project work and assessment.


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