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This Output includes the Definition of SKILLS+ Development Programme
  • Methodological and learning approach;
  • Programme structure;
  • Learning objectives;
  • Definitions of the requirements for the e-learning platform;
  • Definition of support tools and materials;
  • Expected results;
  • Assessment/ evaluation methods.

 The activities leading to SKILLS+ Development Programme aimed to:
-          Identify and exchange the best practices and methodologies for the development of soft skills in micro-enterprises,
-          Analyse the soft skills development programs previously developed by project partners and compare them to the results of the findings of desk research and field work (Needs Analysis),
-          Adapt existing programs to create a new, tailored programme specifically and directly aimed at "people skills" development in micro-sized ICT firms.

Experts in contents and lifelong learning of the consortium have defined the skills and competencies to be acquired with the SKILLS+ Development Programme, i.e. the learning objectives. These objectives are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) for the target group. In this stage, country-specific differences (e.g. cultural) have been considered, so as to tailor the programme (or its delivery mode) to the needs of the project countries.

Based on the analysis, the SKILLS+ pedagogic approach, as well as structure of the soft skills development program has been defined. As anticipated, a blended learning approach has proven most suitable, combining a mix of online learning, (online) tutor support and face-to-face sessions. The consortium was guided by the findings of needs analysis in which the target users were closely involved and also by expert input from professional and experienced training providers of the consortium.

Self-assessment and self-reflection have been chosen as methods for assessment to be included in the SKILLS+ learning process.

Full document in EN

The SKILLS+ project aims to improve the competitiveness of micro-enterprises in ICT sector and to encourage sustainable development of these companies by introducing a soft skills development programme. The objectives of SKILLS+ project include needs analysis; sharing best practices and methodologies for the development of soft skills; adaptation of existing development programmes and materials and complementing them with new materials to create a new, tailored, multilingual programme specifically and directly aimed at "people skills" development in micro-sized ICT firms; developing an e-learning platform; testing and evaluation; creation of local and international networking and cooperation opportunities for the target group and stakeholders; dissemination and preparation of appropriate mechanisms/processes for further exploitation of project results.

The SKILLS+ online learning platform is focused on the soft skills most needed by people in micro-companies of ICT sector (based on desk research and needs analysis to be performed) and will include different types of learning resources and tools - the more "traditional" reading resources will be supported by real-world, decision-making scenarios exercises, which based on recent research keep learners engaged and motivated.

The primary target group of the project are employers and employees of micro-enterprises in ICT sector. The project significantly increases their access to training and will improve their competences in the area of soft skills, first of all due to the availability of the training resources and platform in various language and the concept of “thin slicing” or “learning pills” that offer concentrated learning materials to reach specific learning outcomes within limited time frames.

The results and outputs of the project also allow the partners of the consortium to open up new areas for training and support services. The project the results can also be "exported" to the other geographical areas of Europe.

The need for development of soft skills in micro-companies in ICT sector has been confirmed by various studies and documents, and further researched using a common approach in SKILLS+ partner countries.

The aims of the needs analysis were:
- to establish the list of soft skills that are considered the most important by the micro-companies in the ICT sector;
- to identify, classify and compare the soft skills that ICT micro-companies in different partner regions possess and/ or would like to develop;
- to identify the difficulties in the development of soft skills;
- to determine how the SKILLS+ Development Programme should be delivered.

The needs analysis was carried out in three stages:
1.    Analysis of the European level documents related to soft skills needs in the ICT sector;
2.    Desk Research in partner countries;
3.    Field work - expert interviews in partner countries.

SKILLS+ project partners have established contacts with ICT companies, education and training organisations, ICT associations, networks or clusters, business support organisations, policy makers and other relevant stakeholders in their regions/ countries. This allowed selecting the experts for the interview part (stage 3) of the needs analysis.

It was expected that the experts could come from any of the stakeholders listed above, however in the case that the expert comes from the academic or policy making organisation, they had to demonstrate their knowledge of the ICT business world as well.

Two expert interviews per partner region (except of Romania, where more interviews were conducted) were performed in order to support and/or refine the findings of the desk research.

Three tools were developed and applied by project partners: Desk Research Template, SKILLS+ Interview Guidelines and the Regional Report Template. The regional reports were analysed and resulted in an aggregated report on soft skills development needs, which is used as a basis for the SKILLS+ Development Programme.

3.1. ICT sector and soft skills - European perspective

The latest European company survey in spring 2013 (ECS-2013), found that four out of 10 (39%) firms in the EU had difficulties finding staff with the right skills. These skill shortages vary across the Member States; over 60% of establishments in Austria and the Baltic states have difficulties finding suitably skilled employees, this is substantially more than in Croatia, Cyprus, Greece and Spain (less than 25% each). Hiring difficulties, particularly when related to shortages of staff in high-skill jobs, are a constraint on firm productivity and the adoption of innovative technologies and forms of work. (CEDEFOP, Skills Shortages and Gaps in European Enterprises, 2015)

Employers often claim that they encounter difficulties in finding not only individuals from particular professions (such as skilled trades workers, engineers, health and ICT professionals, etc.) but also for ‘job ready’ graduates and/or candidates who possess the right mix of technical and soft skills (Manpower 2014 Tallent Shortage Survey). Cedefop (2015) has shown that a significant part of such difficulties is not genuinely related to an absence of skills on behalf of job applicants but reflects numerous other influences, such as the offer of jobs with undesirable job conditions, inefficient talent management and recruitment practices and geographic unsuitability.

According to the flash Eurobarometer survey 304 (European Commission, 2010), about 89% of European employers who recruited higher education graduates in the past five years were satisfied with the skills of their new recruits: they agreed that these graduates had the skills required to work in their company. These employers were mostly dissatisfied with the foreign language skills as well as the soft skills (problem solving, planning/ organisation skills, interpersonal skills, team working) of the graduates hired. Concerns are often expressed in employer surveys about the inability of businesses to find workers with the right set of soft skills. (CEDEFOP, Skills Shortages and Gaps in European Enterprises, 2015)

Skill gaps at work vary across generations, highlighting the challenges of tailoring CVET provision to the needs of different groups of learners. Compared to their older colleagues, younger employees are more likely to have higher skill gaps in technical skills and soft skills (communication, teamwork, customer-handling and problem solving). Older workers are more likely to have skill gaps in foreign languages, abilities to learn and apply new methods and techniques (including new technology) and in digital skills. (CEDEFOP, Skills, Qualifications and Jobs in the EU: the Making of a Perfect Match? 2015)

In 2015, ManpowerGroup surveyed more than 41,700 hiring managers in 42 countries to identify the proportion of employers having difficulty filling positions, which jobs are difficult to fill, and why. More than one in five hiring managers (22%) say that lack of experience is behind talent shortages and 17% report a lack of workplace competencies. The most frequent soft skills deficits are lack of professionalism (6%) and lack of enthusiasm, motivation and a learning mindset (6%). (ManPower 2015 Talent Shortage Survey)

Keeping up with high skill requirements to carry out one’s job tasks is dependent on learning (non-formal and informal) taking place in enterprises. While part of workers’ learning depends on individual attitudes, much is embedded in job design and in the wider organisational context supportive of the learning process (such as intercollegiate learning and supervisory support). (CEDEFOP, Skills Shortages and Gaps in European Enterprises, 2015)

The main non-IT skills demanded in the ICT sector include:
  • Business/entrepreneurial skills (creativity, innovation, customer service, sales);
  • project management;
  • communication and
  • foreign language skills. (CEDEFOP, EU Skills Panorama Analytical Highlight, 2012

3.2. Desk research in SKILLS+ partner regions
The desk research in partner countries was performed in February-March 2016, aiming to supplement the analysis of European-level documents and studies.

In the case of some partner countries, the analysis focused on smaller regions: Harghita county in Romania, Madrid region in Spain, Oslo region in Norway and Friesland province in the Netherlands. Cyprus being a small country is considered as one region in EU classification, as well as in this report.

The partner regions are quite different - urban capital regions of Madrid and Oslo that have a major socio-economic influence in their countries and Europe, remote and rural Harghita county, the island of Cyprus with traditional strong service sectors now affected by crisis, and Friesland with R&D developed less than Dutch average but strength in water technologies, health and welfare.

The partners consulted a number of national/ regional reports, articles and other sources related to the ICT sector and soft skills development needs in their regions (please contact the project consortium in order to consult the Regional Reports).

Although there is not much research related to the soft skills needs in this specific sector and company size, the available information confirms the trends that were found in the analysis of European-level documents.
All Romanian sources emphasize the importance of lifelong learning and development of human resources in SMEs; there is “an inefficient investment in professional training of employers or qualified personnel” and “a mismatch between labour skills and market requirements.”

The Cypriot national sources/ reports do not have a clear distinction among the skills needs in small and large ICT companies but they confirm the growing need to develop soft skills. The skills that are underdeveloped, especially in recent graduates joining the ICT companies, are: effective communication, teamwork, presentation skills, problem solving, learning mindset, organisation and self-discipline, innovation, risk and crisis management, project management, quality management, leadership, foreign languages.

The growth of the entrepreneurship movements, the high level of communication between entrepreneurs and companies, the development of the ICT sector in Madrid as well as the co-working and collaborative activities, highlighted the real need of soft skills. Entrepreneurs and company owners are day by day more aware of getting into these skills to get more competitive in business terms but also feeling better in personal aspects.

Norwegian companies report that they have trouble finding people with the right set of qualifications (mainly computer science and other technical qualifications), but in particular also finding people with sufficient quality and ambitions. Local training companies are increasingly focusing on business and communication; sales, project management, business analyses, and team and management development are some of their main priorities within soft skills training.

Besides the technical and professional knowledge and skills, employers of micro enterprises in the Northern part of the Netherlands highly value soft skills like entrepreneurship and social & communication skills. Schools and companies in Friesland however agree that students and young ICT professionals often lack these soft skills.

The desk research was complemented by fieldwork that consisted of interviews with selected experts of the ICT sector in partner regions.

In total, 18 experts were interviewed in partner regions in March-April 2016. The expert profiles are available in the Regional Reports; most of them are owners/ CEOs/ experts of small ICT companies, two come from business support organisations and one - from a VET organisation.

The current level of soft skills in the micro-companies in the ICT sector in their region is evaluated as average by the Harghita and Cypriot experts. A better level of soft skills in Madrid area would be desirable.
In Oslo region, the level of soft skills is seen as relatively good, and much better than it used to be. The new generation of IT workers has stronger communication skills. However, the some people in ICT sector (e.g. programmers) can be peculiar in their ways. Their “language” can be very technical, and it can often be challenging for many to translate this into a more customary language.

The current level of soft skills in the ICT sector varies in Friesland. The companies that are more related to marketing, e.g. social media experts have good communication, team and other social skills. However, the companies that are purely involved in the ‘hard side’ of ICT tend to have less developed soft skills. Automation companies, technical developers etc. have difficulties in communicating to customers, which often causes friction and even losing of the contract.

3.3. Conclusions
ICT is an important and growing sector in all SKILLS+ partner regions. The majority of companies in the sector are micro-enterprises, which face different challenges including strong competition, lack of funding and difficulties in finding suitably qualified and experienced staff in some regions. They need to keep up with the latest trends, offer high quality products/ services and improve their soft skills in order to stand out in the market and succeed.

Based on the analysis of European-level documents, the main non-IT skills demanded in the ICT sector include: business skills (creativity, innovation, customer service, sales), project management, communication and foreign language skills.

Analysis of secondary sources (national/ regional reports, studies, etc.) and fieldwork carried out in SKILLS+ partner countries has showed that there is a wide range of soft skills that the employers and staff of ICT micro-companies should possess in order to be successful.

There is no doubt that all soft skills are useful and desirable in any company; at the same time there are some differences in partner regions in prioritising all the different skills.

Based on the findings of desk research and fieldwork, the most important “soft” competences areas (that are split up into several soft skills in the learning programme) to be developed in the target group in partner regions are the following:
Communication Learning mindset
Problem solving Creativity
Teamwork Leadership
Strategic thinking Innovation
Customer service Risk management

E-learning is considered a suitable, time-saving soft skills development tool; it is advisable to combine it with face-to-face interaction, e.g. workshops and/ or individual consultation.

According to the interviewed experts and future beneficiaries, the SKILLS+ e-learning space should be:
  • mobile device compatible;
  • focussed on the achievement of performance goals;
  • accessible, usable, responsive;
  • motivating and showing the progress of the learner;
  • attractive, engaging, interactive;
  • tailored to learning and studying at the students own time and pace (soft skills take time to learn);
  • self-explanatory;
  • provide   options   for   co-working,
  • incorporate different formats (video, text, etc.);
  • networking and common learning.

As the project deals with micro enterprises from the ICT sector, special importance should be given to developing training materials that meet today’s technical requirements.

Soft skills development opportunities, especially online learning free of charge is very limited at the moment; at the same time understanding of the importance of soft skills is growing. SKILLS+ soft skills development programme has a potential to play a role in filling in the gap, with the condition that it provides meaningful contents in a modern, attractive and accessible way.

The above summarized needs analysis served as a basis for the elaboration of the SKILLS+ Development programme.

The Skills+ Programme offers a relatively new style of learning, the so-called single-concept learning or “thin slicing”. Considering the short attention spans so common today, single concept or bite-size learning focuses on one behaviour change, one narrow concept and one slim goal at a time. Thin slicing is about isolating a single learning concept and, with very limited information, delivering a powerful impact.

The SKILLS+ learning programme is thus made of small e-learning “pills" (short lessons) grouped by competence-areas. These lessons demonstrate how specific skill works in different situations. This will make e-learning more attractive and accessible for the target group. This online learning experience is highly flexible and it can be integrated into any blended learning intervention (e.g. a mix of managerial coaching and instructor-led training), which will provide multiple paths for participants to get the message.

During the ONLINE training actions all participants/users can dedicate the time they really need to be familiar with a concept, group of concepts and other aspects of the contents.

The way Skills+ offers the contents in this “time slicing” way is a kind of game in which the company of the participant seems to sail the seas looking for the “knowledge islands” (i.e. competence areas) where the “knowledge pills” are located in real existing monuments around Europe.

The visual representation of the imaginary island and the “real” buildings transformed into this game, was accomplished by a graphic artist. The style of the entire learning platform will be defined by this “historical” style: icons and other platform elements will be visually adapted to this style.

We consider that this gamification element not only raises the motivational force of the training, but it also offers a twofold intellectual challenge: while developing their soft skills users will take a challenging tour of the built heritage of Europe, increasing intercultural competences and emphasizing the European spirit.

This is how the learning platform is introduced:
“Imagine your company as an old clipper roaming around the Sea of Knowledge, where there are hidden treasures and trading opportunities on each island, unexplored cities and unknown spaces.

The hidden treasures and products are the skills that enable you to navigate effectively your environment, work well with others, perform well, achieve goals and guide your team members to do so. We invite you to on this quest and hunt for treasures and products which support you in making your company perform better and be more competitive.

Start on journey and initiate the quest for the hidden treasures and products, you roam around the sea, explore the island and city. When you navigate across the Sea of Knowledge, you will be able to decide which island to explore and which buildings to search. You are the captain of defining your route, this means you are the one in charge of your own learning path. There is no pre-established learning path.

The islands represent the knowledge units, which are made up of knowledge pills, which are represented by the buildings. A knowledge pill is the basic item for our learning approach, these are short documents build up of practical theory, examples and lessons learned and integrate some questions for reflection which you can use for analysing your situation.

You roam around the sea and visit islands, and explore buildings to acquire the knowledge and skills you need.

The names of all islands have some historical reference related to the age of the Renaissance, and each building is modelled after famous or less known Renaissance buildings across Europe. “

“Island” name Learning unit/ Learning “pill” Renaissance building
representing the “entrance”
to the learning units
Mercator Island
“Explore how
help your business!”
  • Importance of communication 
  • Effective communication
  • Pitching
  • Negotiation & active listening
  • Mauritshuis The Hague, theNetherlands
  • De Waag Leeuwarden, the Netherlands
  • City Hall Delft, the Netherlands
  • Peace Palace,the Hague, the Netherlands
Honterus Island
“Explore ways of
  • Phases of problem solving; 
  • Conflict management
  • Birthälm Church, Transylvania, Romania
  • Haller House, Sibiu, Romania

Absalon Beyer Island
“Explore YOUR TEAM!”
  • Team roles
  • Teambuilding
  • The Rosenkrantz Tower, Norway
  • Akershus Fortress, Norway 
Cervantes Island
“Explore how LEARNING
can change your
  • Learning styles;
  • Capacity to learn;
  • On-line learning
  • Calahorra Castle, Spain
  • Granada Cathedral, Spain
  • Palace of Carlos V Granada, Spain

El Greco Island
“Explore your
  • Raising awareness on creativity
  • Enhancing creativity
  • Coaching for creativity 
  • Creativity tools
  • Sevilla Cathedral, Spain
  • Sevilla city hall, Spain
  • San Lorenzo El Escorial, Spain
  • Universidad de Salamanca, Spain
Rembrandt Island:
“Explore what a good
  • Strategies & styles in leadership
  • Emotional intelligence 
  • Managing teams in projects 
  • E-leadership
  • Validating leadership skills
  • Amsterdam Stepped Gable House, the Netherlands
  • Amsterdam Palace on the Dam, the Netherlands
  • Central Station Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Westerkerk Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • City Theatre Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Principality Island
  • Introduction to strategic thinking
  • Strategic thinking in action
  • Miko Castle, Miercurea Ciuc, Romania
  • Hunedoara Castle, Transylvania, Romania
Bethlen Island
“Explore the tricks of
  • Customer segmentation
  • Customer service
  • Bethlen-Haller Castle, Cetatea Alba, Romania
  • Bethlen Castle, Criş, Romania
Michelangelo Island
“Explore your company’s
INNOVATION potential!”
  • Process, forms and types of innovation
  • Knowledge management
  • Creativity & Innovation
  • Cathedral of Florence, Italy
  • Palazzo Medici Ricardo, Florence, Italy
  • Ca d´Oro Venice, Italy
Cornaro Island
“Explore RISK 
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Identifying risks
  • Methods of risk management
Venetian walls of Nicosia,Cyprus 
Monastery of Agia Napa, Cyprus
Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios house, Cyprus
Table 1: SKILLS+ islands

On the learning platform the names of island and buildings will be linked to relevant websites, where the users can get further information about these locations, heritage sites.

The learning area is created as an accessible website and also the map, with drawings and labels is accessible for people with visual impairments.

The accessibility criteria have been also considered across the website combining a nice look and feel of the whole platform with a very high level of accessibility from any device and for any person.


The development programme is built up of Knowledge Units and Knowledge Pills, where:
  •  each KNOWLEDGE UNIT refers to a particular competence area that is acquired by going through the related knowledge pills and developing skills, attitudes and competences;
  • each KNOWLEDGE PILL represents a lesson that is structured logically to present:
-     learning outcomes defined in form of knowledge, skills, attitudes formulated as “You ”-statements (e.g. Here you will understand/identify, get ideas, improve, learn, etc.);
-     lesson content with theoretical presentation and examples;
-     learning videos carefully selected to support the theoretical presentation;
-     practical advise on applying the lessons learnt to the learners’ own environment;
-     self assessment questions;
-     references and further suggested study material.

The structure of the programme and the share of development work among the project partners is depicted in the table below. Content development tasks were distributed among partners and each partner had an additional role of coordinating the development of lessons for one or more Competence areas. This coordination activity ensured that the learning pills are coherent, include references to their pills and to avoid overlapping of duplication.

Knowledge pill 1 Knowledge pill 2 Knowledge pill 3 Knowledge pill 4 Knowledge pill 5
 partner: SEC
Developed by CSVE
Developed by X -PANEL

Developed by SEC
Developed by 
 Problem solving
partner: SEC
 PHASES of problem solving
Developed by SEC
Developed by SEC
partner: BDF
Developed by CSVE
Developed by BDF
 Learning mindset
partner: X-PANEL 
Developed by BDF
Developed by X-
Developed by
partner: X-PANEL
Developed by ECWT
Developed by FUNTESO
Developed by SEC
Developed by
Developed by
partner: ECWT
Developed by X-
Developed by SEC
Deveopled by BDF
Developed by ECWT
 Strategic thinking
partner: BDF
Developed by X-
Developed by BDF
 Customer service
partner: CsVE
Developed by 
Developed by CSVE
partner: SEC

Developed by SEC
Developed by
Developed by
Risk management
partner: FUNTESO
Developed by
Developed by 
Developed by X- 

Each knowledge unit has learning objectives, which are addressed in the different knowledge pills, which in turn have their own learning objectives, creating a cascade of related learning objectives allowing the learners to always keep sight of the skills and knowledge to be acquired.

Below an overview for each of the units and pills reflecting their learning objectives and content.

This unit shows the real importance and relevance of a good communication within the company team-works through four knowledge pills: "Importance of the communication", "Effective communication", "Pitching", and "Negotiation and active listening".

Knowledge Pill 1 Importance of communication
a) understand better the importance of communication
b) know why to improve the communicational skills
c)  understand  the influence professional life
Abstract Communication is a human process through which people can transfer emotions, feelings, knowledge, information with the purpose to make his companion (interlocutor) to feel, to think or to act in a certain way.

Communications level can be: intrapersonal (arguing with ourselves), interpersonal  (discussing  with  another  person),  group  or  mass communication.
Any  interaction  with  another  person  means  communication.  Human relations   are   defined   through   communication.So, efficient communication allows creating positive, productive working relations.
On  the  other  hand,  the  lack  of  communication  can  generate misunderstandings, pressure and conflicts

Knowledge Pill 2 Effective Communication
a) understand what effective communication is
b)  identify  what one  could improve  in  the communication
c)  get ideas on how to start making the communication more effective
Abstract Communication  is  more  than  just  exchanging  information.  It's  about understanding the emotion and intentions behind the information.

Sometimes - despite our best intentions - what we try to communicate gets lost in translation. We say one thing but the other person hears something else and, as a result, misunderstandings and conflicts arise.

Fortunately, we can learn how to communicate more clearly and effectively. It takes time and effort to develop these skills but the more effort and practice you put in, the more instinctive and spontaneous your communication skills will become.

Knowledge Pill 3 Pitching
a) Define what a pitch is
b) Use a pitch to convey an efficient message in a very short time
c)  Identify the characteristics of a successful pitch
 Abstract Pitching is a widely used term in the „start-up” world, and it is mainly addressed  to  a  customer,  an  investor  or  anyone  important  to  the business. It is a brief, persuasive speech that is meant to spark interest in a project or products and to maintain interest with a view to further negotiations. It was started in the USA, but nowadays pitch contests have been organised all over the world. It is also called “elevator pitch” (elevator speech or elevator statement) as – in extreme cases – it is so short that it can be delivered during an elevator ride.

In start-up environment pitches are 1 to 5 minutes long speeches, that in just a few sentences summarize the most important qualities of a product,  service,  project,  company  or  job  seeker.  An  effective  pitch must be well crafted before being presented.

Knowledge Pill 4 Negotiation and active listening
a) Understand what negotiation is about
b) Prepare for a successful negotiation
c) Understand  one  of  the  key  elements  to  successful  negotiation:active listening
d) Know how to improve the negotiation skills
e) Know how to improve the listening skills
Abstract Negotiation is an essential life skill – not just a skill used in commercial situations.   In   today’s   increasingly   complex   and   competitive marketplace,  effective  negotiation  skills  are  key  to  personal  and organisational  success.  However,  there  are  many  poor  negotiators because  they  don’t  understand  the  concept  of  negotiation.  Many communication  problems  in  negotiations  are  attributable  to  poor listening skills. Active listening is a negotiators best tool. Read about negotiation and active listening in this knowledge pill.


In this unit the participant learns how to face and solve the problems very often found in the companies and their team-works. Two knowledge pills, "Phases of the problem solving" and "Conflict management", provide good tools to the participants to get on the real situation and to learn how to solve their everyday problems.

Knowledge Pill 1 Phases of Problem solving
a)  Being able to define the problem 
b) Being able to list the steps of problem solving
c)  Being  able  to  use  the  acquired  knowledge  in  solving  their  own problems
Abstract We use the word problem to describe a wide range of situations of different  importance,  from  the  irritation  of  discovering  that  the  car battery is flat, to the life threatening failure of an aircraft engine in mid- air.
Problems can be defined broadly as situations in which we experience uncertainty or difficulty in achieving what we want,

Problems  arise  when  an  obstacle  prevents  us  from  reaching  an objective, e.g. when a breakdown in a company's manufacturing plant (the obstacle) prevents it from fulfilling orders (the objective).

The problem solving process can be divided into different methods and the stages have been given various labels. This has been done to make it easier to understand it, but the way it is divided and the labels that are used are not important. To be a successful problem solver you need to understand what the stages involve and follow them methodically whenever you encounter a problem.

Knowledge Pill 2 Conflict Management
a) Understand what a conflict is 
b) Understand  what  styles  characterize  certain  people  in  terms  of conflict resolution. What are the characteristics of these styles? 
c) As managers and parties involved, know what options we have to handle these conflicts
Abstract Many researchers think that the word ’conflict’ derives from the Latin ’armed confrontation’ but today it means more than just that. Moreover, in organisational sense, conflicts may even have positive impacts if we can  handle  them  well.  Conflict  may  have  one  proper  definition:  ’
Contrariety detected between the goals of two or more parties’ (Smith and Mackie, 2004).

This units explains, through two knowledge pills, "Team roles"; "Team Building", how to create real effective teams of work in the company.

Knowledge Pill 1 Team Roles
a) Understand the definition of a “TEAM”
b) Understand the differences between a team and a group
c) Understand the concept and importance of team roles
d) Create new ideas on how to build a team (using team roles too)
Abstract What is team work? Team work is defined as the process of working collaboratively  with  a  group  of  people  in  order  to  achieve  common goals.

A team consists of more than one person, each of whom has both different and similar responsibilities, but the main responsibility is on the team, as a whole.

A team has common objectives, a common mission. It is very important to coordinate personal goals with team goals.

Team roles are the expectations from team members regarding each other's behaviour in the team.

Team roles can relate to different categories of tasks (not necessarily the official tasks from job descriptions).

Knowledge Pill 2 Team Building
a) Understand what team building is
b) Underline the benefits of team building
c)  Apply several team building activities and games
Abstract A team can be very powerful. However, putting together some people will not instantly have the desired result. You have to make sure the group of people forms a strong and committed team. Team building will help you to achieve this. Team building is one of the best investments you can make. It will bring your company many benefits.

This unit shows the importance of the continuous learning from the daily experience with 3 knowledge pills: “Learning capacity and learning agility”, “Learning Styles” and “Online learning”. It shows the participant the way of effective learning online as well as other important aspects to take advantages of this kind of learning.

Knowledge Pill 1 Learning capacity and Learning agility
a) Understand what learning agility and learning capacity is
b) Underline why it is important to increase the learning agility and capacity
c)  Know how to increase the learning capacity and agility
Abstract “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” What do you think about this statement? Do you agree? Do you disagree? This statement is about learning capacity and learning agility. Learn about these concepts in this knowledge pill and learn how you can increase your learning capacity and agility, which enables you to further develop and grow, both professionally as personally.

Knowledge Pill 2 Learning styles
a)  Understand what learning styles are
b)   Identify your preferred learning style
c)    Reflect on how the knowledge of learning styles can improve learning experiences
Abstract There are many different learning styles models; one literature review identified 71 different models.

However, it's not so simple as learning preferences can change over time or depending on circumstances - as you are required to do different things at work and in life more generally.

There are substantial criticisms of learning-styles approaches. Although there is ample evidence that individuals express preferences for how they prefer to receive information, few studies have found that using learning styles in education is really effective. Despite of this, the theories of learning styles remain very popular and widely accepted.

Knowledge Pill 3 ONLINE Learning
a)  Gain  knowledge  about  the  benefits  of  self-training  and  learning using the different resources ONLINE
b)  Choose the best online platforms and courses to be better trained and improve the skills on any subject
c)   Take the maximum advantage of the SKILLS+ learning content
Abstract E-learning has become a real challenge to the traditional learning systems. There are plenty of different ONLINE platforms, courses and resources in the INTERNET to learn different matters. Most answers are easy to find in the internet and it is also easy to get an ONLINE course on almost any matter. However, choosing the best information to get trained is not always easy since the info is really vast.

There are many alternatives and tendencies in the self-training or learning field. Combining working and learning is possible but needs a high level of organization and responsibility.

The importance of creativity is shown in this unit. The “Raising awareness for creativity” (Knowledge pill 1), “Enhancing the creativity” (knowledge pill 2), “Creativity tools” (Knowledge pill 3) and “Coaching for creativity” (knowledge pill 4) give the participant a complete set of knowledge and tools to foster their creativity skills.

Knowledge Pill 1 Raising awareness for creativity
a) Identify the importance of education for creativity
b) Understand how creativity can be applied in your organization
Abstract Leadership is commonly seen as an important variable affecting organizational performance. One way for leaders to encourage more creativity in the workplace is by studying the arts. Artists and business leaders have many similarities. Both have a guiding vision and a potent point of view, and can formulate an ideal, navigating chaos and the unknown to produce a new creation. Since all great art pushes boundaries beyond established norms, it can teach us about leadership, change, ambiguity, chaos, courage and creativity. The arts (painting, poetry, improvisation and storytelling) take us on adventures in creative expression that help us safely explore unknown territory, overcome fear and take risks.

Knowledge Pill 2 Enhancing creativity
a) Know how to create an enhanced creative atmosphere in your team 
b) Understand the importance of creativity in the constant challenge of the new business environment
c)  Know how to take advantage of the creativity processes
d)  Get  used  to  the  concept  of  creativity,  the  differences  and interactions with INNOVATION, and how creativity can help you and your team to grow competitively
Abstract Creativity  is  the  engine  of  innovation  that  is  crucial  in  these  highly competitive times. Although it seems that creativity is not a quality for each individual (there are some in witch creativity is almost natural and others  with  a  low  level  of  it),  creativity  can  be  improved  taking the individuals to a better level of productivity and innovation. This pill will show  you  some  ways  to  improve  the  creativity  in  your  team  or company.

Knowledge Pill 3 Creativity tools
Recognize that creativity is not a talent that you either get or not, but a skill that can be developed
Learn a few techniques and tools that they can use to improve their creativity
Abstract The idea of creativity may be really confusing - who exactly is creative and why are they creative? It's easy to recognize the creative giants whose contributions form the basis of our culture like artists and musicians that we can all name, or people who provide a scientific discovery or technological explanation that enable us to understand ourselves, our world or the cosmos. But where do we fit into all this? How can our creativity be compared to that of the people who shaped our understanding and experience of the world?

Knowledge Pill 4 Coaching for creativity
Know how to develop the creativity of your team
Understand the very basics of coaching
Know how to develop your own coaching competence
Know  how  to  develop  your  creativity  competence  by  acting  up  as creativity coach to others
Abstract This knowledge pill is all about coaching other members of your team or company to develop their creativity skills. The purpose of creativity coaching is to help teams cultivate creativity and sustain innovation. The job of a coach is to help people become better at whatever it is they do. Coaching for creativity help business owners and employees to improve their work and become stronger through creative exercises. If you and your team feel like you're stuck, and aren't sure how to move forward, initiate the following activity in order to gain new perspectives.

This unit shows the participant how to get strategies and know the different styles of leadership, emotional intelligence, management of teams, e-Leadership aspects and validating the leadership skills through its 5 knowledge pills.

Knowledge Pill 1  Strategies and styles in leadership
Understand different leadership styles
Identify your preferred leadership style 
Learn how you could evolve as a leader and develop your strategy bymixing different leadership approaches
 Abstract  A good manager might know the business and the company in detail, however, if he/she cannot inspire others failure could be around the corner. Motivated employees are one of the most important results of effective leadership. Successful leaders get people help accomplish any goal. Accomplishing goals, however, is not enough to keep employees motivated. Helping employees accomplish their own personal and career goals is an important part of motivation. The more motivated the followers, the more effective the leader; the more effective the leader, the more motivated the followers. There is no best leadership style. The same manager can effectively use a variety of leadership styles depending on the competence and commitment of individual employees.

Knowledge Pill 2 Emotional Intelligence
Be able to define what emotional intelligence is
Be able to analyze their own emotional intelligence level
Increase  your  emotional  intelligence,  by  applying  the  suggestions regarding the development of EQ
Abstract Many of us find it increasingly difficult to connect in the modern world, both with others and ourselves. An important factor in our ability to successfully connect is emotional intelligence. When it comes to happiness and success in our relationships or career and personal goals, emotional intelligence (EQ) matters just as much as the more well known, intellectual ability (IQ). We need emotional intelligence to turn intention into action, in order to make informed decisions about the things that matter most to us, and to connect to others in productive and nurturing ways.

Knowledge Pill 3 Managing teams in projects
Recognize leadership pitfalls of project managers
Learn how to avoid missteps in leading your projects
Become a better project manager by improving leadership skills
Better lead people who are working on projects
Abstract If you are interested in growing your career as a project manager, focusing on your leadership skills is critical.

Theory on leadership can offer you context for your role, and suggestions for your development. As a project manager, you face some unique leadership challenges. This knowledge pill is designed to help provide the context, offer development suggestions and highlight some of the major missteps to avoid on your journey.

Knowledge Pill 4 e-Leadership
a) Understand the concept of e-leadership. 
b) Know where to find the tools for e-leadership.
Abstract e-Leadership has crucial importance for companies and industry to excel in their business operation. e-Leadership is key to using new digital technologies for innovation and transformation, managed in a relevant organisational context and embedded in the business strategy.

e-Leadership skills are the skills required of an individual to initiate and achieve digital innovation.

Knowledge Pill 5 Validating leadership skills
a) Access your leadership Skills 
b) Understand the importance of management competences
Abstract Leadership roles are all around us, not just in a work environment. They can be applied to any situation where you are required to take the lead, professionally, socially and at home in family settings. Ideally, leaders become leaders because they have credibility, and because people want to follow them.

This unit shows in 2 knowledge pills how to think strategically to get the companies and teams involved in the creative business model.

Knowledge Pill 1 Introduction to strategic thinking
c)  Understand what strategic thinking is and why it is important
d)  Identify the skills and competences related to strategic thinking and get ideas on how to improve them
Abstract One of the keys to becoming a great leader is to constantly improve your strategic thinking, so you can adjust to new global realities. Yet with time limits and stress from work and family, managers often feel they don’t have the time to improve. That is a mistake. Your own career and the future of your company depend on your strategic thought and its constant improvement.

A study of more than 10,000 executives showed that strategic thinking is the #1 most important leadership competency today. But, only 23 percent of managers are strategic.

Learn more about strategic thinking, its importance and the skills that a strategic thinker should develop!

Knowledge Pill 2 Strategic thinking in action
a)  Understand that Strategic Thinking is of high value to all employees in a company
b)  Develop/improve  your  Strategic  Thinking  competences  by  doing Strategic Thinking exercises
Abstract The knowledge pill explains how Strategic Thinking is not only the domain of top management and company owners, but also very important to apply for employees at all levels of the company. The two exercises in this knowledge pill will improve your Strategic Thinking skills and thus improve your added value for the company and bring you further in your career.

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few do it.” Henry Ford.

It explains the segmentation of the market as well as the customer service strategies with 2 knowledge pills.

Knowledge Pill 1 Customer segmentation
a)  Learn how to identify the segments of the target customers objectives
b)   Learn how to identify the characteristics of any given group
c)    Be prepared to give them the best customer support and services
Abstract Customer segments refer to the different groups of customers a company wishes to serve. Since the customers are the ones that buy the products of the company, a good understanding of the customer is the heart of any business model. Without a good understanding of the customers, no company can survive for long.

Knowledge Pill 2 Customer service
a)  Understand better the importance and benefits of customer service
b)   Know how to improve customer service in order to keep and to increase customer base, to drive loyalty, to increase revenue
c)   Grow efficiency
Abstract In today's business, characterized by strong competition it is no longer enough to sell better or cheaper products / services than the competition. Customer service is nowadays considered like part of your product or service package.

What exactly is customer service?

All those services offered by a company (beside the core product / service), which ensures the selection, the acquisition, start of use, and also a safe, long term, economic operation for the customer.

A professional customer service is also a key factor to the success of your company. High quality services offered to your customers are no longer a luxury, it is a basic condition of surviving and developing. Researches show that in average business situation only 4% of customers makes complaints to the company, the rest of dissatisfied customers simply walks away or even worse, they complain to a lot of people they know (nowadays even on social media) . We also know that it is 6 time more difficult (expensive) to get new customers than to keep the existing one.

A company must offer services to its customers before, during and after selling products or services.

The process and types of innovation skills, the knowledge management and the relationship between innovation and creativity are the knowledge pills of this unit.

Knowledge Pill 1 Process, forms & types of innovation
a) Be able to define what "innovation" is
b) Analyze what kind of innovation is needed and is feasible for your business
c)  Compare the different types, fields and levels of innovation practiced by other actors of your market area 
Abstract Innovation is truly a confusing buzzword, which many people love to hate. Every business leader agrees that it is important. But nobody can quite seem to agree on what it actually is or what it means. If you ask Google for an innovation definition, it is less than helpful, coming up with over 300 million results with thousands of definitions. Its own definition is pretty much useless: “the action or process of innovating”. Using the traditional sources for a definition such as the Oxford dictionary also doesn’t help much, with their answer being “Make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products”.

Knowledge Pill 2 Knowledge management
a)  Identify the areas of knowledge you will have to manage
b)   Know how to better manage your company knowledge leading to success and innovation
c)    Understand the importance of managing knowledge in the teams, in the companies and as an individual
Abstract Knowledge management is directly related with innovation in every company as well as leading to success in projects, products and services.

This pill will take you through the tricks and fundamentals of managing your own personal knowledge, your team and your company knowledge.

Knowledge Pill 3 Creativity and innovation
a) Know how to audit the companies' creativity level
b) Understand the innovation training mindset
c)  Create metrics for creativity development
Creativity & Innovation management is fundamental for all organizations and companies where knowledge creation is a goal of their everyday activities. Any enterprise should boost their creativity in order to be innovate and competitive.

However in order to have successful organizations the quality of the people is the distinguished feature to achieve it.

Organizational learning should be improved by the contribution of the people in order to increase business performance.

Identifying and managing the risk is crucial in any organization. This unit describes the methods of identification of risks with 3 knowledge pills.

Knowledge Pill 1 Intellectual property rights
a) Know  how  to  manage  knowledge  in  the  team  or  company environment
b) Know how to manage the knowledge of your company or team
c) Understand  how  to  protect  your  knowledge  (some  different alternatives)
d) Understand   the   concepts   about   copyright,   copyleft,   creative commons
Abstract Knowledge is indeed words a value add for a company. Managing it is crucial to produce wealth and better results.

There are traditional assets that can be protected by the traditional copyright, Registered brands, and Patents, but with the new digital era we are living in in, there are other knowledge assets such as human resources, digital environments,

Intellectual assets and knowledge assets will be described in this pill.

Knowledge Pill 2 Identifying risks
a)  Understand the general characteristics of Risk identification process
b)  Know  the  importance  of  this  process  for  the  general  risk management
c)  Find different methods to apply the risk identification process
Abstract Risk identification is an iterative process in the risk management area that helps a company or project to find and solve the risks that can affect the quality and success of a project.

Risk identification is the process of determining risks that could potentially prevent the program, enterprise, or investment from achieving its objectives. This process includes documenting and communicating the concern. Risk identification is an absolutely necessary process in the development and the success of a company and must be clear and easy to understand.

Risk identification is the main and critical process in the risk management area.

Knowledge Pill 3 Methods of risk management
a)  Understand the main risk management methods
b)  Identify  the  risk  management  methods  most  suitable  in  your business
Abstract There is always a chance that something will go wrong. The things that might go wrong are called risks, and a wise manager identifies them early enough so that he or she can do something about them. Of course, risk management is an ongoing activity, so you should carry on identifying and recording new risks as they come up.


For each of the knowledge pills a common structure is used to ensure coherence across all knowledge pills with the same “look and feel” for the learner.

In the table below (used as template for the learning resources development) you can see how each learning pill is structured and how the sections of the lessons are meant to support the learning and skills development process within the Skills+ Learning Programme.

The actual content of the lessons is accessible through the learning platform of the SKILLS+ project: or in pdf via the Skills+ website’s OUTCOMES section: (Skills+ Learning Resources).

Title of Lesson/ “Knowledge pill” no. 1  Title of Unit that this sub-unit belongs to
Learning outcomes (knowledge, skills,
competences to be developed by this unit)
 Time Schedule
In this section we define what the user will
learn, why she should go through this
knowledge pill.
E.g. If you take this “knowledge-pill”, it will
help you to:
- do…  what?
- know… what?
- understand… what?
- etc
Estimated time to finish the pill is appreciated, but it is never longer than 30
minutes, to comply with the users’ needs as defined in the Needs analysis (“short and concise”)
Relation Connection with other pills, prerequisites
Short theoretical introduction A catchy phrase and/or illustration to introduce the learner tot eh topic of the lesson
and to raise their interest.
Presentation including practical examples Texts are addressing the learner, using the 2nd person (e.g. "So now you know the definition of Strategic Thinking. You know what it is, why it is important and ...") Pictures, tables, graphs used as illustration are supporting the explanations. Illustrations are carefully selected having in mind the copyright restriction and licenses. Graphs with texts, where possible are reedited for the various language formats. The lengths of this section is between 300 and 1000 words.
Video examples Minimum one, but in most of the cases 2-3 videos support the learning in each lesson. Each video is introduced by a short paragraph, explanation and/or relating tasks. This paragraph show why and in what way the learning resources developer considers that a specific video is useful for improving certain competences.
Tips and tricks This section presents practical advise on how the entrepreneur/future entrepreneur can use the learning outcomes achieved in her/his own business environment, personal and professional life. This section also includes identification of pitfalls.
Summary of the main lessons learned Max. 5. sentences to revise the lessons learnt
Self-reflective questions Max.2. questions for each lessons. The aim is to get the leaner thinking and applying the "lesson" to their own situation. (See also the following section of the present document: 7. Approach to evaluation.)
Further learning Links and references to publications, articles etc.

There are many ways to evaluate the results in an online learning platform or courses.

The primary target group of the project are employers and employees of micro-enterprises in ICT sector. The platform is aimed to significantly increase their access to training and to improve their competences in the area of soft skills.

This group of people does not dedicate much time to study; that is why SKILLS+ introduced the concept of “thin slicing”, that provides multiple ways to learn and get the concept stated in the objectives of each part of the whole platform (knowledge pills).

With this new concept of self-study, SKILLS+ gives the participants the chance to get “a goal at a time”, without spending more time and attention than in the traditional ONLINE courses and platforms.

SKILLS+ has a high level of interactivity with the participant as well as an attractive look and feel of the contents, a clear language, an accessible for all environment, where the participant doesn’t have to spend more than 30 minutes to learn each knowledge pill.

In consequence, the method of evaluation has to be aligned to the whole approach of the platform avoiding traditional ways of evaluation such as forms with questions to be filled, tests, and others.

After having read the main section, then browse the extra materials, and understand the summary and learn in the “TIPS AND TRICKS” section, the visitors can reflect and self-evaluate by answering some questions related to the contents of each knowledge pill.

The concept of “self-reflective learning”, is the way SKILLS+ applies since it is the most convenient and appropriate for its main target group. This way of studying allows the participant to think about his/her level of knowledge once performed the proposed learning path in each knowledge pill.

 The SKILLS+ reflective concept is called “Self Reflective Questions”, a set of questions aligned to the objectives of each knowledge pill that a participant has to answer after each pill has been completed. Reading the results of the answers, the participant is fully able to evaluate his/her level of understanding and knowledge in a concrete skill of a knowledge pill, and take decisions about going back to the pill or consider that he/she has achieved the objectives of the learning section (knowledge pill).