Education stakeholders have emphasized “deeper learning” and “21st century skills” as requisite for students to achieve the higher level learning that the labor market demands. But what exactly do these terms mean?
The National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies of Science released a new report that brings some clarity to this question. NRC breaks down into three areas the skills that may fall under definitions such as “deeper learning” or similar terms: cognitive skills, interpersonal skills, and intrapersonal skills.
Cognitive skills include critical thinking, information literacy, reasoning and argumentation, and innovation.
Intrapersonal skills involve competencies such as flexibility, initiative, and metacognition.
Interpersonal skills include areas like communication, collaboration, responsibility, and conflict resolution.
While cognitive skills are certainly valuable, the study suggests that a combination of skills in each of the above areas helps students to transfer their specific knowledge to broader situations and influences more successful outcomes.
The authors recommend that policy makers support strategies and efforts, such as common standards, that integrate deeper learning skills into education. They also suggest that foundations and agencies support more research on the relationship between student attainment of deeper learning skills and their later outcomes. Lastly, the authors recommend using research-backed teaching methods, many often used in Career Technical Education (CTE), such as teaching with examples and cases, to provide real-life learning experiences for students.
Learn more about this extensive study here.
Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst