Human skills are simply skills that are exclusive to human beings, and no AI or automation can replace these skills.
The need for individuals, resilient and adaptive to rapidly changing environments, is the order of the day. LinkedIn’s workplace learning report 2020 states that the #1 priority of talent development teams is training employees for creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and emotional intelligence. People categorize and call these skills as soft skills, people skills, leadership skills, social-emotional skills, essential skills, and at times, power skills. No matter what name they might take, these skills are exclusive to humans and demonstrate one’s ability to work with fellow human beings, and bring ideas to the table. In the age of automation and AI, the so-called technical skills or hard skills are eventually replaceable by machines, but it is these human skills that make people indispensable. AI might continue to replace jobs, but machines can never replace our judgment, empathy, and compassion.
Fortunately, these human skills are not inherited and can be trained for enhancement. Learning and Development (L&D) leaders and HR leaders realize the importance of training their employees for human skills, but the biggest challenge is getting employees to make TIME for learning. The lack of time actually signifies a lack of interest, because of unengaging andragogy (adult learning approaches). The teacher-centric lecture-based training and online courses with a 5-15% completion rate are failing miserably. So the billion-dollar question is how we can inspire and engage people to learn.
We at MADIEE Games, believe that human skills are best learned through co-learning, or synchronous learning, where people learn together as these are people skills. You can’t expect someone to effectively learn persuasion, collaboration through an online course. But unfortunately, most of the training today is focussed on online learning solutions that are asynchronous, and this may not be the best mode of learning these human skills. And on the other hand, though instructor-led training is effective, they are one dimensional and teacher-centric and are also very expensive.
The effective learning of human skills will definitely require a blended learning approach, and game-based learning might be the perfect solution. But game-based learning should never be confused with the gamification of learning. Even among the various game-based learning approaches, the so-called ‘serious’ games having synchronous gameplay are a game-changer. Because in games with synchronous gameplay, multiple players play together in real-time and thereby facilitates co-learning, which is effective for learning human skills.
Training for human skills has become the #1 priority of organisation, and HR and L&D leaders should strive for effective training of these skills, by experimenting with different andragogy.
About the Author
Senthil Kumar G, is a human skills trainer, serious game designer, and the founder of MADIEE Games. He is a mechanical engineering graduate from College of Engineering Guindy, and holds in Masters in Thermal Energy storage. He is a recipient of the prestigious Young India Fellowship, and has since then become an evangelist for liberal arts education. He writes about mental models, serious games, gamification, lifestyle design, and is an avid reader of Thirukkural.