Links to 21st century learning

On this page:

What is it?

21st century learning is the development of a highly valuable skill set for the future. 21st century skills are flagged as critical for the digital and evolving economy. Instead of specific subject knowledge, 21st century skills are ways of thinking, ways of working and ways of living.

The Australian Curriculum includes seven general capabilities:

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Information and communication technology (ICT) capability
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Personal and social capability
  • Ethical understanding
  • Intercultural understanding

The list below from the Assessment & Teaching of 21st Century Skills website shows another approach to categorising these skills:

Ways of thinking

  1. Creativity and innovation
  2. Critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making
  3. Learning to learn, metacognition

Ways of working

  1. Communication
  2. Collaboration

Tools for working

  1. Information literacy
  2. ICT literacy

Living in the world

  1. Citizenship — local and global
  2. Life and career
  3. Personal and social responsibility — including cultural awareness and competence

Best practice STEM education is complementary to 21st century learning. At the same time as developing important skills and knowledge in the STEM subjects, students engage in activities and projects that promote 21st century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration.

How does it help?

Linking to 21st century learning prepares students for the future world of work, and arms them with critical life skills. It supports students to be critical and creative-thinkers, communicators and collaborators.

How do you do it?

21st century skills can be included in the classroom through:

  • Project-based learning provided on the NSW Government Education website.
  • Creating lessons that promote critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity.