Modeling the effect of postgraduate courses on soft skills: a practical approach

Front Psychol. 2024 Jan 5:14:1281465. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1281465. eCollection 2023.


Over the last decade, Higher Education has focused more of its attention toward soft skills compared to traditional technical skills. Nevertheless, there are not many studies concerning the relation between the courses followed within an academic program and the development of soft skills. This work presents a practical approach to model the effects of courses on soft skills proficiency. Multiple Membership Ordinal Logistic Regression models are trained with real data from students of the 2021, 2022, and 2023 cohorts from the general engineering program in a French Higher Education institution. The results show that attending a postgraduate course in average increases the odds of being more proficient in terms of soft skills. Nonetheless, there is considerable variability in the individual effect of courses, which suggest there can be huge differences between courses. Moreover, the data also suggest great dispersion in the students' initial soft skill proficiency.

Keywords: courses; modeling; multiple imputation; multiple membership; soft skills.

Grants and funding

The author(s) declare financial support was received for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. This work was funded by I-SITE ULNE (42 Rue Paul Duez, 59800 Lille, France) under the project SUCCESS. The SUCCESS project aims on supporting the assessment of soft skill proficiency on postgraduate students, and provide personalized recommendations of courses based on their soft skills.