What Are The New Basic Skills?

I found this quote while reading Exploring the State of Education Now.

“in 1920 being illiterate meant not being able to read or write. In 2010 being illiterate means not knowing how to surf the net.”

That got me thinking. Going beyond literacy, what are some of the new basic skills you need?

So here are some thoughts:

  1. Learning is exploratory. You learn better by exploring. So you need to learn a skill to explore.
  2. Learning is both deep and wide (T-shaped). We need to get a bird’s eye view of a lot of interrelated disciplines but also deep knowledge in one or more specific ones.
  3. Self learning is going to trump all other forms. The ones motivated to learn can find ways of learning that far exceed the capability of teachers to teach.
  4. Creating a passion for learning is more important than teaching lots of facts and even concepts.
  5. Teaching people how to learn is even more important that teaching them something.

One of the things I am noticing is that in higher ed, the role of teachers is shifting. To the dismay of most of us, there are at least a few students who are smarter, faster, better informed than us as teachers in the class. The collective intelligence of the students is a magnitude higher than that of the teacher.

So how can we leverage the interest, collective intelligence of the students to make learning better?

So what is a new basic skill? Learning to learn.

Here are a few articles that triggered this post (tweeted by me in the last 24 hours):

Ever since the first #140conf event, we have been looking at the effects of the real-time web on Education. http://bit.ly/dLzlim

Beyond #FB, beyond consoles and computer screens, games are becoming the medium for everyday life, http://bit.ly/dMhsqg via @Xin_Cindy_Chen

The Classroom of 2020? http://bit.ly/ed53rc #learning2020

If you asked a professor versus a student “where and when does learning happen,” you’d get 2 different sets of answers. http://bit.ly/hoeINI

Twitter Search – Learning in 2020: http://twitter.com/#!/search/learning2020

2 thoughts on “What Are The New Basic Skills?

  1. Whenever there was learning happening, you will find learner in the center of the process. And there would be multiple other actors. There is actually a couplet in Sanskrit which goes on to say this. With this insight, we started the company Classle Knowledge (www.classle.net) and forging ahead to bring learning to everybody. It is heartening to find more people who think the same way.


    1. Thanks. I hope “Learner in the Center” becomes the new norm. All educational institutions need to recognize this. I think right now it “Grades” in the center 🙂

Comments are closed.