According to Trilling, the Co-author of “21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times.” The framework for 21st Century Learning Skills focuses on the “Seven C’s.” These include;
- Critical thinking
- Creativity and innovation
- Cross-cultural understanding
- Computing technology
- Career learning.
These are far apart from the three R’s; reading, Writing and arithmetic, that has been the core traditional way of learning.
Trilling suggestion was that the three R’s be replaced with the 7 C’s to enhance lifelong learning. Noting that Lifelong learning is the key to success in the 21st century.
Bernie Trilling in no way advocated that core curriculum be thrown out; but advocated for restructuring of the educational system to focus on career and skills-based learning.
With this in mind; it is evident that there exists a major disconnect between the educational system and the labour market; thus, yielding graduates with skills that do not match industry requirements. Hence, the need to facilitate a learning principle that ensures graduate are equipped with life and employability skills necessary for adapting to life in ‘Our Times’
The 7C’s for 21st Century learning covers skills that are in high demand in any workplace in every part of the world. The continuous evolution of the workplace demands that only those exposed to these core competencies will succeed. This is why there exists such a dichotomy between employers and applicants in the Nigerian Labour Market today.
How this 7 C’s Apply to personal and career development;
1. Critical thinking
The ability to think clearly and rationally is crucial to the success of life and the career of your choice. Critical thinking, however, is not limited to those in the fields of education, research and finance or the legal profession; it is, therefore, an adaptive necessity in the new knowledge economy.
The new economy is increasingly demanding flexible intellectual skills; and the ability to analyze information and integrate diverse sources of knowledge into problem-solving. Therefore, Being able to think well and solve problems systematically is an asset to any career.
2. Creativity and innovation
Creativity and innovation have been highlighted as essential skills for the 21st century, especially if we consider that both skills can promote human potential by generating positive aspects of the individual. It is a multidimensional construct involving cognitive variables, personality characteristics, family, educational and social and cultural aspects.
One of the characteristics of the creative process that makes it particularly powerful is that it requires not only knowledge and understanding, but also a willingness to question and not be constrained by existing knowledge.
Collaborative skills enable you to work successfully towards a common goal with others. Hence, collaborating effectively ensure you communicate clearly, actively listen to others, take responsibility for mistakes and respect the diversity of your colleagues.
Collaboration can foster creativity, innovation and cross-skilling. Since collaboration involves working with individuals with different talents, skills and knowledge, it allows you to benefit from the skills and perspectives of the members of the team.
4. Cross-cultural understanding
Cross cultural understanding is highly crucial for career and personal development. When you are trained to understand cross cultural differences, you develop awareness. Cross cultural training promotes self-confidence in individuals and teams through empowering them with a sense of control over previously difficult challenges. When barriers such as preconceptions, prejudices and stereotypes that obstruct our understanding of other people, are lowered, mutual understanding is heightened; thus, leading to improved learning.
The importance of communication skills in today’s fast paced world cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, being able to communicate effectively is one of life’s most vital skills. Your ability to communicate accurately, clearly and as intended is a vital skill in life and something that should not be overlooked. Therefore, actively improving your communication skills plays an important role in the process of personal development and career advancement. Being knowledgeable is not enough, you need to know how to communicate knowledge clearly in order to drive the progress you want.
6. Computing technology
In today’s fast paced world, being tech savvy is a factor that determines how successful you can become personally and career wise. Modern businesses and organizations rely heavily on technology to carry out their work functions. Therefore, having a decent knowledge in ICT can significantly change your life and career path for the better.
7. Career learning
Lifelong learning is a form of self-initiated education that focuses on personal development. While there is no standardized definition of lifelong learning, it has generally been used to refer to learning that takes place outside of a formal educational institution or a corporate training institution.
Opening up to lifelong learning ensures that you remain relevant to your chosen career and that the benefits are enormous.
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