Wencke Kieft about communication skills training with TrainTool and Pitch2Peer

To record yourself and watch it back with Pitch2Peer is one of the best practice methods to review your own work
Wencke Kieft
Current role
Coordinator Career Service at the Faculty of Science.

Wencke Kieft is coordinator Career Service at the Faculty of Science, where she helps students prepare for the job market. In her courses, communication skills are important, which are practiced with TrainTool and Pitch2Peer. The advantages of these tools became a lot more apparent during remote learning.

‘One of the courses I teach is Professional Orientation. In this master course of 3 EC students are provided tools with which they can prepare themselves for future situations and develop as a professional. Usually this was done through seminars with questions for job applications. This way, students prepare themselves for a job application with me at the end of the period. However, because education had to be online during the lockdown, I switched to online practice sessions with Pitch2Peer and an online final interview. The sessions that remained were mainly used for explaining the content posted on Brightspace, practice with giving feedback and experience stories of alumni.'

‘Another course I teach was already fully available online. Within this course, a lot of pre-recorded videos I took myself are used. The clips are not necessarily meant to convey knowledge, but mostly meant to give an introduction and make contact with the students. The clips make the course more personal and this way I can guide the students through the course, without the need for one-on-one contact. Additionally, Traintool is used in this course to let students practice their communication skills independently.’

‘With the pilot programme Pitch2Peer students can record a pitch of themselves in certain (imaginary) situations, for example during a job application or at a networking event. This pitch is then reviewed by other students. Every student also reviews pitches from other students. I made sure that students only get access to other students’ pitches after they’ve uploaded their own. This way, students not only learn from each other, but also from themselves. Recording yourself and watching it back is a hurdle for many students, but it is one of the best practice methods to review your own work.’

‘In TrainTool, students can practice with pre-programmed situations, where they get to see a video and react to it with their own video. TrainTool is an advanced programme, which probably has a lot more tools than what I use it for now. Because TrainTool works with pre-programmed modules, the tool is a little less easy to customise than Pitch2Peer, but TrainTool does contain a lot of useful modules that can be used directly.’

‘Using Pitch2Peer has worked very well for me. Because students can now practice their skills independently, the sessions that remain allow for more transfer of knowledge and feedback.’ Even when education fully returns to campus, Wencke would like to continue to use a tool like Pitch2Peer or TrainTool. ‘For an upcoming course I would like to design a module within TrainTool to practice with presentation skills. This is an important skill for students to develop, and it would be ideal if they could practice with that independently.’ 

Getting started?

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