Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2019 - 28

The Case for

and AI-adaptive
Soft Skills Training

By Dean Slawson

A recent survey put soft skills at the top
of the list of enterprise training priorities,
with "making time for learning" cited as
the biggest training obstacle.
People skills, such as leadership,
communication, collaborative problemsolving and interpersonal awareness, are
critical to fostering teamwork and the kind
of high-engagement, safe, respectful and
inclusive workplace known to attract and
retain top talent. Soft skills help eliminate
the liabilities of a toxic work culture and
empower organizations to lead the way in
productivity and innovation. Such skills are
core competencies expected of managers

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and leaders, but equally important for
anyone working with others.
While traditional e-learning can effectively
impart facts and concepts, the experiential
and performance-based practices
employed to change interpersonal
behavior are typically obtained in person
under the guidance of a skilled facilitator.
However, such training is often cost
prohibitive, especially when teams are
geographically distributed. Meanwhile
the opportunity costs of stopping work
to attend a scheduled, human-mediated
training, even if delivered online, can
exceed the cost of the training itself.

Finding time for follow-up guided practice
to reinforce new behaviors is rare. Today's
soft skills training simply does not scale.
Virtual reality with artificial intelligence
can help.

VR and AI as
Learning Technologies
Virtual reality involves special hardware
and software to create an experience
featuring the unique illusion of "presence,"
i.e., of being in another setting. In VR, a
user is enveloped in a simulated world that
feels real, generally portrayed in 3D. Scenes
in VR track the participants' movements,

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2019