Soft skills or digital skills: Is This the Question? Genesis of a workshop




Performative teaching, Soft skills, Virtual Environment, Digital skills, Online training


Demand for skills building is increasing more than ever and it has only been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Digitalisation and globalisation are the driving factors, thus requiring not only digital skills but also soft skills. New and ever-changing contexts require new and flexible training approaches. Performative teaching and learning has proven to be instrumental in helping to develop emotional and social skills, but it is best suited for face-to-face pedagogical contexts, or is it? This article will describe the elements of a workshop that aimed to train soft skills. It was inspired by an online training module in which the teachers applied a performative approach to train digital skills. The module was an integral part of an innovative, interdisciplinary, and interactive workshop, Active Learning Lab (ALL-EM), organised at Ca’ Foscari University. An abridged and adapted version of this workshop was presented at the 8th Scenario Forum Sore back, square eyes? Going performative in digital teaching and learning spaces (18/19 June 2021, online).


Ca’ Foscari (2021a, December). Contamination Lab (CLab).

Ca’ Foscari (2021b, December). Didattica innovativa e digital learning. (Retrieved 21/12/2021).

Cavalieri, L. (2021, February). Le competenze necessarie per lavorare (bene…) da remoto. Sole24ore,

Charoensap-Kelly, P., Broussard, L., Lindsly, M. & Troy, M. (2016). Evaluation of a soft skills training program. Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, 79(2), 154-179.

Cornalli, F. (2018, June 20-22). Training and developing soft skills in higher education. 4th International Conference on Higher Education Advances (HEAd ’18). [Conference presentation] Universitat Politècnica de València, València.

Council of the European Union (2018). Council Recommendation of 22 May 2018 on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning. CELEX:32018H0604(01)EN

DigComp (2019). The digital competence framework 2.0. EU Science Hub.

Eurostat. (2019). Glossary: Digital Literacy. E.U. Eurostat.

ECDL Foundation (2014). Fallacy of the digital natives position paper.

Erickson, K. (2015). Improvisation: Five approaches. OneStopDramaShop.

Fey, T. (2008). Fieldston school commencement address.

Ibrahim, R., Boerhanneddin, A. & Bakare, K. K. (2017). The effect of soft skills and training methodology on employee performance. European Journal of Training and Development, 41(4), 388-406.

Johnstone, K. (2015). Impro for Storytellers. Routledge. Rakuten Kobo edition. (Original work published 1999)

Johnstone, K. (2015a). IMPRO. Improvisation and the Theatre. Routledge. Rakuten Kobo edition. (Original work published 1979)

Kudrowitz, B. M. (2010). Haha and aha!: Creativity, idea generation, improvisational humour, and product design. [Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dep. Of Mechanical Engineering].

La Marca, A. & Gülbay, E. (2018). Didattica universitaria e sviluppo delle soft skills. Pensa Multimedia

Lutzker, P. (2021, November 27). The art of foreign language teaching in a digital age. [Conference presentation]. 12th Scenario Colloquium.

Mannucci, P. V., Orazi, D. C. & de Valck, K. (2021, March 11). Improvisation takes practice. Harvard Business Review.

McKinsey (2021, December). Soft skills for a hard world.

Mehta, A., Fu, B. & Chou, E., Mitchell, S. & Fessel, D. (2021). Improv: Transforming physicians and medicine. Medical Science Educator,31, 263-266.

Neel, N., Maury, J-M., Heskett, K. M., Iglewicz, A. & Lander, L. (2021). The impact of medical improv curriculum on wellbeing and professional development among pre-clinical medical students. Medical Education Online, 26(1).

Pinzauti, R. (2023, June). Roberta Pinzauti. Coach professionista.

Robson, K. & Pitt, L. & Berton, P. B. (2015). Yes and… : What improv theatre can teach service firms. Business Horizon,58, 357-362.

Schewe, M. (2013). Taking stock and looking ahead: Drama pedagogy as a gateway to a performative teaching and learning culture. Scenario, 7(1), 5-27.

Schewe, M. (2020). Performative in a nutshell. Scenario, 14,(1).

Schinko-Fischli, S. (2019). Applied improvisation for coaches and leaders. A practical guide for creative collaboration. (Newman. J., translator). Routledge.

Schreyögg, G. (2001). Organizational theatre and organizational change. Paper Presented at the 60th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management”. In R. Bresser, G. Krell & G. Schreyögg (Eds.), Discussion Papers (13/01). Berlin.

Scinto, J. (2014). Why improv training is business training. Forbes Leadership Training.

Seiler, D. (Ed.) (2021, April). Building workforce skills at scale to thrive during - and after – the COVID-19 pandemic. McKinsey.

Vergnani P. (2021a, December). Senza filtro. (Retrieved 21/12/21)

Vergnani, P. (2021b, December). “Teatro di impresa: come vivere meglio e ridurre i conflitti”. Improovo. (Retrieved 21/12/21)






Window of Creative and Reflective Practice