9 Characteristics Of 21st Century Learning

Characteristics of 21st-century learning include scale, adaptability, data, & the ability to consistently produce personal & social change.

9 Characteristics Of 21st Century Learning

What Are The Main Characteristics Of 21st Century Learning?

by Terry Heick

The label of ’21st Century learning’ is vague, and is an idea that we here at TeachThought like to take a swing at as often as possible, including:

–weighing the magic of technology with its incredible cost and complexity

–underscoring the potential for well-thought-out instructional design

–considering the considerable potential of social media platforms against its apparent divergence from academic learning

Some educators seek out the ideal of a 21st-century learning environment constantly, while others prefer that we lose the phrase altogether, insisting that learning hasn’t changed, and good learning looks the same whether it’s the 12th or 21st century.

At TeachThought, we tend towards the tech-infused model, but do spend time exploring the limits and challenges of technology, the impact of rapid technology change, and carefully considering important questions before diving in head-first.

The following take on 21st-century learning developed by TeachThought is notable here because of the absence of technology. There is very little about iPads, social media, 1:10 laptops, or other tech-implementation. In that way, it is closer to the ‘classic’ approach to ‘good learning’ than it is the full-on digital fare we often explore.

The size of the circles on the map are intended to convey priority.

9 Characteristics Of 21st Century Learning

1. Learner-centered 

2. Media-driven (this doesn’t have to mean digital media)

3. Personalized

4. Transfer-by-Design

5. Visibly Relevant

6. Data-Rich

7. Adaptable

8. Interdependent