21st century skills lead to greater work quality and success

This is the main finding of a recent study on the subject, which emphasizes real-world problem-solving as the most important factor. This confirms the importance of cultivating global competence and problem- and project-based learning more generally, and validates the approach taken in HON 251 Citizen and Self and with the Capstone Experience/Thesis (CE/T).

In the study, the 21st century skills include knowledge construction, real-world problem-solving, collaboration, self-regulation, skilled communication, technology, and global awareness. Of all these, real-world problem-solving is the most important factor of higher work quality. Positive responses to the following two items have the strongest link to work quality:

  1. “Worked on a long-term project that took several classes to complete”
  2. “Used what you were learning about to develop solutions to real-world problems in your community or in the world” […]

We also learned something stunning about the role of teachers in students’ future work success: When students have more voice in their education and their aspirations are known, levels of 21st century skills and work quality later in life are significantly higher. […]

The vision for what we should be doing in schools: Students have teachers who care about them, know their hopes and dreams, and help them discover what they like to do and what they do best. Students work hard applying what they are learning over long-term projects involving collaborative technologies that aim to solve real-world problems.

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