Sandlin, M. R., Price, M. R., & Perez, K. (2018). A capstone experience: Impacts of a behavioral style learning unit on soft skill development and team dynamics. Journal of Agricultural Education, 59(1), 21-34. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2018.01021
The integration of hard and soft skills has become increasingly important to employers. Colleges of agriculture and natural sciences can facilitate the development of these skills in their students. The purpose of this study was to explore impacts of a behavioral style learning unit on soft skill development with 15 students enrolled in a senior-level undergraduate capstone course. The research objectives were to (a) explore students’ preflections and reflections for indications of soft skill development, (b) explore team dynamics, and (c) identify best practices for integrating a behavioral style learning unit into a capstone course. Qualitative content analysis methods and basic quantitative methods were used to examine the preflections and reflections of the students. Students found the behavioral assessment improved understanding of their own behavioral needs, and allowed them to flex their style to meet the needs of team members. Relationship compatibility, based on behavioral styles within teams, correlated with the ability of team members to accurately perceive their contributions to tasks, relative to peer-based perceptions of contributions. Based on these results, it is recommended that a behavioral style learning unit, or a similar psychological type unit, be integrated into courses where soft skills are a desired student learning outcome.