‘Soft skills are a must in a child’s education’

NEW DELHI: New Delhi-based Little Leap is a live online platform for kids to develop soft skills such as confidence, communication and critical thinking at a young age. Vishal Gupta, founder & CEO at Little Leap talks about how the pandemic has impacted online learning and why soft skills should be an integral part of a child’s education. Excerpts:
Why do you think soft skills are an integral part of education?
In addition to academic development, life skills such as thinking, confidence, communication and creativity are four essential building blocks of a child’s education. Honing such critical skills help children to build their base of first principles and enhance academic performances. Everything else that children want to learn or will ever learn, at it academics, STEM, coding etc, will all become easier if they operate from a strong base of primary soft skills.
What tools do you use for developing soft skills?
Soft skills and holistic development is a continuous process where children are given activities in various areas of learning and therefore we have built different levels of difficulty based on the age group and tasks completed by a student.
We leverage a combination of technology and live interactions to develop soft skills in children. We use, for instance, a reading plug-in which is a speech-to-text recognition feature that acts like a chatbot for speaking. Essentially, you can speak to the screen and you will receive feedback to improve your pronunciation, grammar, speed of reading and so on. This helps instill the habit of reading and learning in children.
Myths about online learning that you are addressing?
People often believe that by simply viewing videos or playing games, children can develop long-term, sustainable soft skills, or that education can be imparted exclusively through this medium. The typical success rate is only 5% despite unwavering efforts and repetitions. In order to develop such skills, videos and games need to be complemented with real-world, practical live online and tech-assisted learning to create visible progress and output.
What sort of traction have you observed from tier 2 & 3 cities in the last six months?
Participation from the marginalized tier 2 and 3 markets is on the rise. This could be attributed to a variety of reasons such as no access to premium schools in their vicinity. The parents of these students aspire to provide a common playground for their children to compete at par with their counterparts in metros. More than 40% of the kids enrolled with us from these underserved cities.
How has the pandemic impacted online learning and is there a behavioral shift in parents and students?
One of the biggest benefactors of the transition due to the pandemic can be seen in the education sector. Parents and teachers play a fundamental role in supporting the students to develop crucial soft skills. The pandemic has accelerated digital learning.

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