Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century

To achieve their full potential, students need to develop a range of skills. These skills range from skills in certain disciplines, to more general skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and self management. This type of skills is often referred to as “21st century skills”. However, different organizations use a variety of names for lists of these broad skills. So, what are 21st century skills and how are these relate to academic skills and transferable skills?

In 2012 America’s National Research Council published a report that defined the set of key skills that are referenced by the labels “deeper learning,” “21st century skills,” “college and career readiness,” “student centered learning,” “next generation learning,” “new basic skills,” and “higher order thinking.” Furthermore, they looked into research that investigates the importance of such skills to success in education, work, and other areas of adult responsibility.

In their report they distinguish three broad set of skills: academic skills (such as skills in problem solving and critical thinking), interpersonal skills (such as skills in communicating and in collaboration) and intrapersonal skills (such as self management skills). Although the report aims at skills for secondary education, academic course programs that focus on skills acquisition could take this report as a starting point for their educational policies.

More information
National Research Council. 2012. Education for Life and Work: Developing Transf…