In recent years, the focus of education has drastically changed due to the necessities o demands of a completely new society that has suffered endless transformations. Globalization, technology, changes in the economy, the development of new workspaces, and the demands of new labor roles are some of the variations that education has faced disclosing a gap between what if taught in the classrooms and the requirements professionals face nowadays at work.
After meaningful analysis and study, specialists have come to the conclusion that when studying academic knowledge and interpersonal skills must be taught together. How can a brilliant business person with all the knowledge and theory required for the position efficiently perform if he cannot relate, communicate, lead, make a decision, create, or work in a team? Experts are relying even more on people skills than in the academic development of students.
Academic knowledge, also known as hard skills, are tangible and measurable. They present clear evidence that can be subject to verification. Teachers can quantify this evidence and the students’ performance. Hard skills have a specific use, and their theories do not apply to different contexts. In contrast, people skills or soft skills are intangible. It is difficult to measure or quantify how much students learn them. However, these skills work in any setting and situation.
Some soft skills are creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, flexibility, teamwork, communication, leadership, project management, public speaking, decision making, time management, and emotional intelligence, among others. These are integrated into the instructional design to obtain better results since they need a context to learn, practice, and master them. Online education offers a perfect space for the development of soft skills since it fosters their practice not only by building knowledge but also by using technology and applications to comply with tasks and projects.
Online classes provide students with the perfect stage to succeed in their future as professionals. They can learn to surf the net efficiently, to work actively with their classmates, and to distribute work in a team to reach a common goal. Through online interactions, they can acquire assertive oral and written communication skills, to solve problems creatively, to present their projects and researches to the class, manage their time to their advantage, and many others. Mainly, virtual education uses a diversity of material that helps learners to accomplish challenges, have their own opinion, and make decisions based on real cases.
Experts also agree that it is better to acquire soft skills at an early age to foster other learning skills and to become proficient at them. Online education for elementary school is an ideal environment to develop skills such as adaptability and flexibility of space, ideas, and resources. The online modality helps students to socialize with different cultures, opening a window of opportunities to promote respect, integrity, and basically, the skill to communicate and understand other cultures.
The quality resources that online classes use allows children to work in campaigns and projects with higher possibilities of promotion and broadcasting. These kinds of tasks added to the diversity of tools and applications that students can use in the virtual environment, encourage students to practice problem-solving and critical thinking skills. They also boost the interaction, confidence, the development of different roles inside the team.
Interactive virtual classrooms strengthen the growth of social-emotional skills such as patience, empathy, and tolerance to solve problems and fulfill learning objectives. Social-emotional intelligence (SEL) is one of the most relevant soft skills in children’s progress in education, and it should be part of kindergarten and elementary education because it takes years to develop. This skill raises a foundation for students to produce healthy, lasting, and respectful relationships, but at a multicultural and multilingual level. There is no better place to learn these skills than an online dual learning classrooms.