21st century skills

May 27, 2019
Blog - 21st century skill

Are the 21st century skills something new?And are they still crucial for todays business world?


The 21st century skills aren't that new. They date back more than two decades, when blue-ribbon committees, policymakers, business leaders, and education experts began sounding the same alarm: Yesterday’s focus on memorization and rote learning would not prepare students for a fast-changing, increasingly automated, information-saturated world.

Output of this collaboration are the 21st century skills. These skills are 12 abilities that today’s students need to succeed in their careers during the information age:

1.      Critical thinking

2.      Creativity

3.      Collaboration

4.      Communication

5.      Information literacy

6.      Media literacy

7.      Technology literacy

8.      Flexibility

9.      Leadership

10.  Initiative

11.  Productivity

12.  Social skills

The first four skills are by fast the most known ones from the 21st century skills and are summarized under the “four C’s”. These are learning skills that students and employees needs for the mental processes to adapt and improve upon a modern work environment. More educators know about these “four C’s” skills because they’re universal needs for any career. They also vary in terms of importance, depending on an individual’s career aspirations.

Arguably, critical thinking is the most important quality for someone to have in health sciences. In business settings, critical thinking is essential to improvement. It’s the mechanism that weeds out problems and replaces them with fruitful endeavors. It’s what helps students figure stuff out for themselves when they don’t have a teacher at their disposal.

Creativity is equally important as a means of adaptation. This skill empowers students to see concepts in a different light, which leads to innovation. In any field, innovation is key to the adaptability and overall success of a company. Learning creativity as a skill requires someone to understand that “the way things have always been done” may have been best 10 years ago — but someday, that has to change.

Collaboration means getting students to work together, achieve compromises, and get the best possible results from solving a problem. Collaboration may be the most difficult concept in the four C’s. But once it’s mastered, it can bring companies back from the brink of bankruptcy. The key element of collaboration is willingness. All participants have to be willing to sacrifice parts of their own ideas and adopt others to get results for the company.

That means understanding the idea of a “greater good,” which in this case tends to be company-wide success.

Finally, communication is the glue that brings all of these educational qualities together. Communication is a requirement for any company to maintain profitability. It’s crucial for students to learn how to effectively convey ideas among different personality types. That has the potential to eliminate confusion in a workplace, which makes your students valuable parts of their teams, departments, and companies. Effective communication is also one of the most underrated soft skills. For many, it’s viewed as a “given,” and some companies may even take good communication for granted. But when employees communicate poorly, whole projects fall apart. No one can clearly see the objectives they want to achieve. No one can take responsibility because nobody’s claimed it. Without understanding proper communication, students in the 21st Century will lack a pivotal skill to progress their careers.

So, educator both at university but also in L&D department should start thinking about these skills and how to implement them into their education programs. Nowadays, not only the hard skills are needed in business, more now also these soft skills.