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Soft skills training, children vs. adults

Explaining self-efficacy via the bike analogy.

Photo by Didier Weemaels on Unsplash

Have you ever wondered why we learn how to ride a bike in childhood?

At first, it feels like one of the hardest skills to acquire. It takes so many sub-skills, such as body synchronization, balance, and use of all senses at once, just to only manage to stay on the bike! But, after falling, again and again, the reward is absolutely worth it! We get to race our friends into the great unknown!

According to A. Bandura’s Social Learning Theory, child learning and development come from direct experience (such as riding a bike) but also as a result of observing and modeling other people (such as watching an older friend or a parent riding a bike). The theory takes into account both cognitive and environmental factors in determining how children learn.

Photo by Arseny Togulev on Unsplash

Now, have you ever wondered why we don’t wait to learn how to ride a bike in adulthood?

Theoretically, wouldn’t it be easier? As adults, we should have gained a better understanding of synchronization and balance and (hopefully) know that crossing the road without paying attention is not the cleverest thing to do? Well, perhaps it could be. But…

The bike analogy is explained.

Imagine a bike. Perhaps your childhood bike. What parts can you remember? It certainly has a frame and pedals. A saddle and handlebars. Chain and tires. And, of course, brakes that don’t work (mothers pretend you didn’t read that). But in order to ride our bike safely, we need more than that. We need a helmet and lights. We also need a pump. And as if those weren’t enough, we need our personal skills, as mentioned above. We need balance and synchronization, to say the least. And now for the fun part. Instead of a bike, imagine… soft skills!

Photo by David Dvořáček on Unsplash

Empathy, communication, pressure management, curiosity, and so many more collaborate to create the… bicycle of life! With this bicycle, we now own the proper foundation to explore, evolve, and become the greater version of ourselves. Having created this basis as early as possible, the potentials are unlimited! Bandura’s work has highlighted the importance of a key soft skill, which we would say is the steering wheel of our bike; self-efficacy. In a sentence? Young learners who believe in their own ability to learn are more likely to succeed in life.

From theory to real-life examples: soft skills training in children.

The Fast Track Project was piloted in 4 US communities. Of the 891 students who participated, aged 6 to 11 years old, half of them took part in the intervention, which included training in self-control and social skills, amongst others. The program, which lasted from 1st grade through 10th grade, reduced delinquency, arrests, and use of health and mental health services!

From theory to real-life examples: soft skills training in adults.

A recent literature review (2018) attempted to better understand why the transfer of soft skills training fails and trainees cannot use the acquired knowledge and skills on the job, while training resources are wasted, and business results go unrealized. The review studied the factors that influence the success of the transfer of soft skills training by exploring studies published from 1988 to 2017. What was influencing the post-training transfer of soft skills were job-related factors, social support factors, and factors related to the organizational facilitation of learning. During training, the levels of each individual’s motivation and personal characteristics are also crucial.

Photo by Mark Stosberg on Unsplash

What Morphoses does.

Data can’t lie. Nor does research; neither do scientists. Nor the real-life experience. Enhancing our soft skills from an early age is the ticket to a happy life. That is why our instructors are taught the bike analogy. During our classes, we aim to be “the training wheels”. Carefully and steadily, we take a step back when it is time, and we proudly admire our learners for taking the lead, exploring, and, after having completed the classes, boldly discovering the world with their own bikes.

Photo by Carl Winterbourne on Unsplash

The interesting fact of the day.

It is never too late to learn how to ride a bike or … to acquire soft skills! Meet this lovely lady, Joni, an 85-year-old woman who is learning how to ride a bike for the first time in her life!



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