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601 Saving Soft Skills from Extinction

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Thursday, April 21

Tracks: Instructional Design

While always a challenge, onboarding new STEM graduates into a global organization using consistent, engaging, and effective learning strategies became even more complicated due to the global pandemic. For new college graduates transitioning to a career at Cisco, the soft skills program must prepare participants to navigate a complex technical environment, as well as introduce new challenges such as collaborating with peers across generations, a new relationship structure, feedback and what it means, and navigating a large company and organization. Failure to prioritize soft skills can leave graduates feeling lost, overwhelmed, and stressed.

Changing behavior and building professional skills using virtual media is a challenge we all face today. This case study will describe how our learning and development team seized the opportunity offered by the pandemic to reinvent the program, save money, and deliver a successful soft skills virtual program so that soft skills remained a top priority for our STEM graduates in a remote working environment. We will illustrate a pathway that begins with the partnership of key stakeholders to ensure that we structured our content, role plays, scenarios, and interactions to meet business goals. We’ll end by sharing both the survey that focuses on the experience of our participants and our business results.

In this session, you will learn:

  • How to establish an effective program framework that is modular and participant-centered
  • How to capitalize on virtual technology tools to ensure learning resonates with participants
  • How to employ learning methods to help participants learn, practice, and retain desired professional behaviors
  • How to use a modular framework to support the need for role centric enablement

Technology discussed:

Webex, polling, interactive PDFs

Eva Hamburger

Learning Architect

Cisco Systems

Eva Hamburger is a learning architect for Cisco, where she has supported a variety of engineering and professional skills programs over the last seven years. She is an adult learning professional with more than 25 years’ experience providing online, virtual, and in-person learning solutions in technology, manufacturing, health care, and financial industries. Eva currently specializes in developing learning frameworks and professional skills programs for global employees at Cisco. She holds a masters in science degree in technical communication from the University of Michigan and is a Certified Professional in Talent Development from the Association for Talent Development.

Jennifer Silverest

Learning Architect

Cisco Systems

Jennifer Silverest is a learning architect for Cisco. She is an adult learning professional with more than 10 years’ experience designing frameworks and curricula. Jennifer currently specializes in intern and graduate programs, as well as learning paths for tenured and experienced employees for Cisco across the globe. Employee enablement is her passion. She holds a MEd degree in instructional technology from North Carolina State University.