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Politecnico di Milano

Active Learning for Soft Skills Development

This edition is closed. To enroll in this course, please go to Find courses and search for the running edition.

Soft skills are crucial competencies to be developed by students to access the labour market. The integration of active learning methods in teaching practices can support curriculum innovation and improve the learning experience of university students in particular while learning disciplinary subjects.

If you are a POLIMI student you have to log in using your Person Code. This is the only way to prove your participation in this course for official recognition.

Course description

This course provides a practical learning path on how to foster the development of soft and digital skills while teaching specific subjects. Soft skills, as defined by Haselberg (2012), are “a dynamic combination of cognitive and meta-cognitive skills, interpersonal, intellectual and practical skills that help people to adapt and behave positively”, and are a vital component of any course: not only are they “most wanted” competences indicated by the corporate sector, but they are also essential life skills for all. This MOOC is mainly for higher education teachers and trainers who recognise the importance of potentiating such skills in students and who want to improve their effective support for students to help them achieve this aim. It is also for those who have already actively engaged students in their lessons, but still want to re-think the proposed activity and enhance the results of this interaction working on soft and digital soft skills even further. Through this MOOC you will discover how an active learning method, i.e. any instructional method that engages students in the learning process, can effectively be designed and implemented in a curricular course to support students’ in their soft skill development.

Logo Erasmus+

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

This project No. 2018-1-FR01-KA203-047829 has been funded by Erasmus + programme of the European Union.

Logo Elene Life

This MOOC is one of the outputs of the Erasmus+ eLene4life project (, whose partners are:

  • Fondation UNIT – AUNEGe – Digital university for economics and business studies (France);
  • Fondazione Politecnico di Milano (Italy);
  • Politecnico di Milano - METID Learning Innovation (Italy);
  • European University College Association (Belgium);
  • Warsaw University of Technology (Poland);
  • Universität Bremen (Germany);
  • Libera Università Maria Santissima Assunta (Italy);
  • University of Dundee (United Kingdom).

Information about fees and access to materials

You can access the course absolutely free of charge and completely online.
The course materials will still be available to all registered users, even after the closing of the edition. Further editions of this course will be activated in the future.

Learning schedule

The course is organised in 7 weeks.

Week 0 is an introduction to the eLene4Life project and to the MOOC, its structure and the main subject we are dealing with.

From week 1 to week 5 you will explore one of the aspects related to the design and implementation of active learning to develop soft skills, starting from direct experience of international teachers around Europe who have implemented an active learning method during the academic year 2019/2020. Week 6 is dedicated to particularly valuable activities of experimentation of what you learned and of strengthening the community dimension by getting in contact with professionals in the eLene4Life Community of Practice (CoP). Week 7 collects and presents the complete interviews to the teachers who experimented with active learning.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Actively participating in this MOOC, you will achieve different intended learning outcomes (ILOs).


  1. Recognise and describe key elements of teaching practice design in the frame of active learning methodology ESCO: pedagogy
  2. Apply principles of constructive alignment to your curriculum starting with an effective formulation of ILO for soft skills ESCO: instructional design models ESCO: develop curriculum
  3. Identify the key elements in defining an assessment strategy for ILO achievement when working on soft skills, elaborating the best strategies and preventing critical issues when applying active learning methods in your class ESCO: assessment processes
  4. Experiment with and develop new formats and pedagogical methods for instruction ESCO: assessment processes ESCO: develop curriculum
  5. Comprehensively support your students while they develop soft and digital soft skills

Soft skills and digital soft skills

  1. Communicate effectively in digital environments or with digital tools ESCO: digital communication and collaboration
  2. Positively and effectively engage with others ESCO: use online conventions of netiquette ESCO A2.2.0: demonstrate good manners
  3. Experiment with different strategies and methods to acquire knowledge, know-how, skills and competences ESCO: use learning strategies
  4. Share and exchange knowledge, resources and experiences with colleagues and peers ESCO: digital communication and collaboration
  5. Use professional communities and networks to reflect on new pedagogic practices and methods and as a source for supporting one’s own professional development ESCO: manage personal professional development


  1. develop a positive attitude towards new and challenging demands developing a lively interest in novelty, an openness to experience, to exchange, actively explore and discover new areas ESCO A1.8.0: demonstrate willingness to learn


There are no prerequisites to take this course, even if previous experience in teaching will be helpful.

Activities and assessment

Throughout the MOOC, over and above consulting the content, in the form of videos and additional web-based resources, you will, through the forum or other digital tools that support sharing and comparing, work on reflecting on your own experience and improving it taking into consideration the inputs emerged from discussions with peers.
To obtain the certificate, you should complete the whole MOOC and the Weekly quizzes at the end of each week, but we strongly encourage you to take part in the peer assessment activities and discussions that you find most useful and relevant for your own professional development.
These activities guide you in:

  • focusing or reflecting on specific inputs individually;
  • working collaboratively with the others through external tools, like Padlet and Answer Garden;
  • sharing and discussing experiences, challenges, doubts with the aim to help and supporting own’s professional development;
  • designing the experimentation of new methods to be implemented in the class through peer assessment.

The final grade for the course is based on your results from your responses to the weekly quizzes (at the end of each week); peer assessment (week 6); and your contribution to the self-assessed activities, such as, for example, discussions in the forum or contributions on other digital tools.
The weighting of these activities to your final score quizzes (70%); peer assessment (20%); and self-assessed activities (10%).

Scoring for the Weekly quiz equals 1 point per question. Remember, the system will record the result of your final attempt, not the best of your attempts. Scoring for the peer assessment is equal to the average of the points assigned to your work by two peers. The course is considered successfully completed if the participant reaches 60% of the total score. The course's total score will be calculated by averaging the scores of the quizzes for each individual week.
After completing the course, if you have surpassed the threshold score of 60% then you can download and print a certificate of participation.
You can check your points earned at any time on the Progress page.

Certificate of Accomplishment

The course releases a Certificate of Accomplishment to anyone who successfully completes the course by reaching 60% (or more) of the total score by the end of the edition. You will be able to download the Certificate of Accomplishment directly from the website.
Once you have successfully passed the course, you can request the Certificate of Accomplishment without waiting for the end of the edition.
The Certificate of Accomplishment does not represent any academic credit, grade or degree.

European Qualifications Framework Level

EQF Level 5

Thematic area (ISCED-F classification)

  • 0188 Inter-disciplinary programmes and qualifications involving education
  • 0111 Education science

Discussion forum

The Forum section represents the core of this MOOC community. Use it to contribute to all MOOC activities and to exchange opinions and discuss open questions with peers. Have a look at it every time you enter the course to see what’s new!

Contact details

If you have any enquiries about the course or if you need technical assistance please contact For further information, see FAQ page.

Course Faculty

This MOOC is the result of a proficient collaboration between many people, at an international level. Politecnico di Milano - METID had the opportunity to enjoy working closely with the eLene4Life partners and to benefit from the kind availability of many international teachers, who experimented active learning for soft and digital skill development.

Deborah Arnold

Deborah Arnold

Deborah is the National and International Projects Coordinator at AUNEGe and as such is the overall coordinator of the eLene4Life project. She has extensive experience in both designing and teaching online courses, and in studying online herself. As one of the founding members of eLene back in 2004, Deborah has been involved in all six eLene projects, from eLene-TT on teacher training right up to eLene4Life. From 2010 to 2016 she served on the Executive Committee of EDEN (European Distance and E-learning Network) and held the position of Vice-President for Communication. She is a Senior Fellow of EDEN and a member of the EDEN Fellows Council Board. In addition to holding a Masters degree in journalism and media production from the University of Burgundy, Deborah is currently completing a PhD on Digital Education Leadership at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.

Maria Cinque

Maria Cinque

Maria Cinque is Associate Professor of Didactics, Teaching Methodologies and Special Pedagogy at the Department of Human Studies of LUMSA University in Rome where she coordinates the course of Science of Education. She also teaches Teaching and Communication Skills at the Campus Bio-Medico University in Rome and holds seminars on soft skills and faculty development in different Italian Universities (Palermo, Pisa, Pordenone, Roma, Udine). She has a PhD in Teaching and Communication Technologies and her main research interests focus soft skills and digital skills, faculty development, coaching and creativity. She has been involved in the different European projects concerning soft skills: eLene4LIFE: Learning and interacting to foster employability (2018-21); eLene4work: Learning to learn for new digital soft skills for employability. (2014-17); European Ict Sector Skills Alliance - Vet Open Course For Mobile Apps Creators (2014-15); MODES (Modernising Higher Education through Soft Skills Accreditation). (2009-12).

Magdalena Jasińska

Magdalena Jasińska

Magdalena Jasińska is an experienced instructional designer and project manager at Warsaw University of Technology, Faculty of Management. Since 2004 she has been involved in many projects connected with e-learning, multimedia in education, virtual mobility, virtual entrepreneurship, soft skills 2.0. Her research activities concentrate on e-learning methodology and new technologies in education. As a teacher trainer she leads F2F, blended and online courses on distance learning, methodologies of using e-learning tools and new technologies in managing projects. She has a PhD in Political Science.

Mirela Mazalu

Mirela Mazalu

Mirela Mazalu is the Secretary-General of EucA where her main responsibilities focus on 1. research in European project consortia on students affairs development, soft skills learning and assessment in residential settings, quality mobility, youth employability and active citizenship, 2. designing international co-curricular activities for students, and 3. designing professional development events for student affairs professionals in Europe. She joined EucA in 2010 and serves in her current capacity since 2017.

Susanna Sancassani

Susanna Sancassani

Susanna Sancassani is the Managing director of METID (Methods and Innovative Technologies for Learning) at the POLITECNICO DI MILANO where she was professor in the PhD course of “Innovative teaching skills”, “Progettazione multimediale”, “Progettazione di servizi multimediali” and “Progettazione e sviluppo di corsi di e-learning”. She is a member of the scientific committee of SieL (Italian scientific society for e-learning) and coordinator of the table "Digital ecosystems for learning innovation" of CRUI. She is in charge of teacher training on learning innovation at the Politecnico di Milano. In collaboration with other colleagues at the Politecnico, has published “Costruire servizi digitali” (Milan, Apogeo, 2003) “Il bit e la tartaruga” (Milan Apogeo, 2004) and, with Federica Brambilla and Paolo Marenghi, “e-Collaboration: il senso della Rete” (Milan, Apogeo 2011).

Instructional designer

Alessandra Tomasini

Alessandra Tomasini

Alessandra Tomasini collaborates with METID – Politecnico di Milano from 2007. She is project manager of national and international projects in education contexts with a focus on innovative didactics and instructional design of training paths.

Creative Commons License
This MOOC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), except where stated otherwise.

  1. Classes Start

    Feb 22, 2021
  2. Classes End

    Jun 06, 2021
  3. Length

    7 week
  4. Estimated Effort

    2-3 hours/week
  5. Language

  6. Course Number

  7. MOOCs For Teachers