Soft Skills Series: First-Year Experience

For many of us, the month of December is about helping others and giving. Our team has decided to get into the spirit of the season by featuring a blog that relates to this theme every Monday this month. What does that mean exactly? We have been inspired by the forward-thinking bulbs that many of our university partners are creating in order to help their university learners (as well as instructors and admins in some cases) succeed in the world through the development of much needed soft skills. Sometimes that is as simple as teaching first-year university enrollees how to live away from home and sometimes it's more about learning empathy for people who look and behave differently from us.

Photo by Alexander Dummer
The Question
How can higher education institutions help their first-year enrollees navigate the challenges that come with the increased levels of responsibility that many, if not most, learners suddenly face? Sometimes that means time management skills and at other times it means learning how to live with a roommate. Some higher education institutions have reported success by implementing PlayPosit in the "first-year experience" courses that many higher education institutions offer.

The Solution
The first year at a higher education institution is stressful for many enrollees. It doesn't matter if a student continues to live at home or moves halfway across the country. For many young people, this is the first time that they have been thrown into the world of managing their own lives without any oversight from their parents. This, combined with the increased rigor of courses, can make for mental health struggles that are difficult for many individuals to communicate.

Yale University and other institutions are hoping to circumvent many of the challenges faced by first-year learners by using PlayPosit's interactive video platform in their first-year experience courses. Instructors help to introduce and refine the soft skills needed to navigate time management, understanding the risks of substance abuse, and more.

Having the ability to learn these skills through interactive video allows for better engagement and therefore retention as the risk of embarrassment and vulnerability is not present and learners can participate in an environment that is much lower stress than a traditional classroom environment.

  1. Colleen S. Conley PhD, Lea V. Travers MA & Fred B. Bryant PhD (2013) Promoting Psychosocial Adjustment and Stress Management in First-Year College Students: The Benefits of Engagement in a Psychosocial Wellness Seminar, Journal of American College Health, 61:2, 75-86, DOI: 10.1080/07448481.2012.754757 
  2. Click here to request a demo.