Can Soft Skills Be Trained Online?

So, this month we want to delve deeper into the often understated and therefore under-trained topic of soft skills.

92% of talent professionals and hiring managers agree that candidates with strong soft skills are increasingly important [A]. While technical skills will continue to change and evolve, be in demand and then be redundant; soft skills like communication, leadership, emotional intelligence, persuasion, problem-solving and teamwork will be the secret weapons employees use to cope with change.

I often get asked if you can train soft skills online as most people feel that you need facilitator-led training to role-play soft skills scenarios.

I disagree.

There are a few secrets to building successful soft skills eLearning courses.

Don’t make learning soft skills a long, cumbersome process. Personally, if you tell me to sit for an hour to attend an online course, I freak out! I immediately make a myriad of excuses of why I can’t possible commit for an hour. But give me a 5 minute blast! In fact, I have completed dozens of 1-2 hour courses online, Spending 5 – 8 minutes at a time. It is a lot easier to fit into a busy schedule.

What I am trying to say is for your next online soft skills course – think micro-learning. Short, bite size chunks of impactful information the learner can consume when and where they need it. Let the learner decide, put them in control of their own learning journey.

Job aids are powerful tools that can be used for simple, relevant, and effective reinforcement of the soft skills training content. We have used these with great success when it comes to listing the steps to follow in certain scenarios.

With relevant and customised case studies and branching scenarios you can test whether a learner knows what they must do in any given situation.

In a class, yes, there is role-plays and discussions, but often you only get to do one role-play per new concept learnt, hardly enough practise to change behaviour and more often than not, role-plays are done in groups of two or three with the facilitator not hearing most of the role-plays to assess whether the soft skill has truly been transferred.

So, in my opinion, yes… you can train soft skills online.

What is your viewpoint? Can Soft Skills Be Trained Online?


[1] Global Talent Trends 2019 (

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