Developing 21st Century Skills Through Discussion

Concurrent Session 1
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Online discussions can provide an ideal opportunity to support develop of critical 21st-century-skills.

This presentation will help participants:

  1. Explain the importance adding the development of 21st-century-skills to existing curriculum
  2. Apply a framework for assessing 21st-century-skills in their learners
  3. Utilize online discussions to develop 21st-century-skills in their learner

Extended Abstract

Today, there can hardly be a discussion about the value of higher education without mention of the need to develop 21st century skills.

While employers expect college graduates to have certain content knowledge, so too do they expect students to possess a variety of complementary soft-skills. The challenge is, employers continue to find that college graduates are unable to demonstrate competence in many of these 21st century skills.

Attempting to address this challenge, colleges and universities continue to attempt to embed 21st century skill development within existing curriculum. However, adjusting concrete, content-based curriculum to support these more abstract skills can be quite challenge and success in doing so is rare (Murugiah, 2020).

Though the skills thought to be requisite for success in the 21st century varies, given that  communication, collaboration, and social intelligence have been shown to be the most sought-after skills by employers (Rios et al., 2020), adjusting curriculum to help develop these skills can be simpler that often realized.

When done effectively, online discussions can provide an ideal opportunity to support develop of these critical 21st century skills.

This presentation will showcase results from a mixed-methods study into the effectiveness of developing 21st century skills through discussion.
Participants for the study completed online training modules utilizing a new learner-driven online discussion platform.

Results indicated that engagement in highly collaborative tasks and communications increased learners' empathy, critical thinking, and overall communication.

Through this presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain the importance of adjusting curriculum to accommodate the development of 21st century skills
  2. Apply a framework for assessing 21st century skills in their learners
  3. Utilize online discussions to develop 21st century skills in their learner