Knowledge Age skills

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Some views on Knowledge Age Skills

There are a number of commercial websites (eg:;; that identify six Knowledge Age Skills:

• Communication skills

• Team skills

• Adaptability skills

• Computer skills

• Business skills

• Learning skills

Trilling and Hood (1999) identified seven knowledge age skills...The 7Cs

• Critical Thinking-and-Doing - Problem-solving, Research, Analysis, Project Management, etc.

• Creativity - New Knowledge Creation, "Best Fit" Design Solutions, Artful Storytelling, etc.

• Collaboration - Cooperation, Compromise, Consensus, Community-building, etc.

• Cross-cultural Understanding - Across Diverse Ethnic, Knowledge and Organizational Cultures

• Communication - Crafting Messages and Using Media Effectively

• Computing - Effective Use of Electronic Information and Knowledge Tools

• Career & Learning Self-reliance - Managing Change, Lifelong Learning and Career Redefinition

[In Trilling (2003) these 7Cs are multiplied by the 3Rs (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic) to form 21st Century skills - 3Rs X 7Cs = 21st Century Skills]

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2002), in their report Learning for the 21st Century identify the following Learning skills for the knowledge age.

Information and Communication Skills

Information and Media Literacy Skills: Analysing, accessing, managing, intergrating, evaluating and creating information in a variety of forms and media. Undrestanding the role of media in society.

Communication Skills: Understanding, managing and creating effective oral, written and mulitimedia communication in a variety of forms and contexts

Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills

Critical Thinking and Systems Thinking: Exercising sound reasoning in understanding and making complex choices, understanding the interconnections among systems

Problem identification, formulation and solution: Ability to frame, analyse and solve problems.

Creativity and Intellectual Curiosity: Developing, implementing and communicating new ideas to others, staying open and responsive to new and diverse perspectives.

Interpersonal and Self-Directional Skills

Interpersonal and Collaborative Skills: Demonstrating teamwork and leadership; adapting to varied roles and responsibilities; working productively with others; exercising empathy; respecting diverse perspectives.

Self-Direction: Monitoring one’s own understanding and learning needs, locating appropriate resources, transfering learning from one domain to another.

Accountability and adaptability: Exercising personal responsibility and flexibility in personal, workplace and community contexts; setting and meeting high standards and goals for one’s self and others; tolerating ambiguity.

Social Responsibility: Acting responsibly with the intersests of the larger community in mind; demonstrating ethical behaviour in personal, workplace and community contexts.

Assessing knowledge age skills

The table below sets out the 'Knowledge Age skills' that we are focussing on - with initial indicators of what different levels of competence might look like ... You can see we are still working on this (and any suggestions you have would be much appreciated).

How about

  • time management
  • flexibility - the ability to adapt to a situation and learn new skills
  • empathy - the ability to understand and react to the feelings of those around you
  • responsibility - being aware that your actions have consequences in terms of people and resources
  • self knowledge - awareness of one's own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs Fox

Suggested in the Forum: problem solving, lateral thinking, time management, goal setting and group organization.

See also International Society for Technology in Education's National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S):

The Knowledge Age Skills Framework

Skill Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4


Projects personal characteristics

Receives messages from others, shares goals
Develops processes

Values others, understands roles and changes in roles

Joint problem-solves
Manages relationships

(from QCA level descriptors)

Selects and uses structures, styles and registers appropriately in a range of contexts. ‘Listens’ with concentration and understanding

Adapts communication for a range of settings and audiences

Makes a range of contribution, demonstrating perceptive listening

Takes a leading role, initiating and sustaining conversation, and reflecting understanding


Understands and sets greater goals and purposes

Sets examples, explains

Recognises skills of peers

Applies own and others’ skills productively


Questions and challenges

Makes connections, sees relationships

Envisages what things might be

Reflects critically on ideas and practice



Problem solving


Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2002), Learning for the 21st Century, accessed from on 08 October 2007 Trilling, B., & Hood, P. (1999, May-June). Learning Technology and Education Reform in the Knowledge Age or "We're Wired, Webbed and Windowed, Now What?" Educational Technology, 39(3), 5-18. accessed at on 08 October 2007 Trilling, B (2003) The Once and Future Kingdom of Learning Accessed at: on 08 October 2007