Active Learning and Interpersonal Skills Development among First-Generation College Students

Acevedo & Lazar / International Studies Perspectives / August 2021

Scholars have detailed the benefits of active learning, particularly the impact that simulations can have on promoting engagement and evaluative thinking. Scholars have discussed the positive effects of active learning on first-generation college students, but there is minimal research on how simulations contribute to developing interpersonal skills, especially among first-generation college students. Interpersonal skills, often referred to as soft skills, are challenging to quantify since they focus on how individuals relate and interact with others. These skills include oral and written communication, teamwork, confidence, and leadership skills. This article examines whether stimulations taught within an active learning environment contributed to developing interpersonal skills among first-generation college students. In a retrospective survey administered at a single campus, our findings suggest that active learning contributes to the building of cultural capital for first-generation college students and also contributes developing interpersonal skills for both first-generation and second-generation college students.