The education world has changed where 21st century skills have become part and parcel for the learners nowadays. The 21st century skills are a set of abilities that learners need to develop for their lifelong learning as well as to fulfil these days job’s demands. The skills are not only referring to the use of technology during the teaching and learning process but also requiring other several elements.

There are three types of 21st century skills that the learners should have in order to adapt with the changing world. The first skill is learning and innovation skills. The skills are involving 4Cs elements: critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, and communication. The learners need to have the 4Cs so that they can  be the critical thinker,  creator for producing high quality work,  communicator who understand and know to convey their ideas, and be able to work with others as a team.

The second skill is literacy skills which the learners need to have information literacy, media literacy,  and technology literacy. By having these skills the learners can explore their learning by themselves. The learners can find information at anytime and anywhere which can be accessible seven days in a week. Moreover, the learners can discover virtually limitless information using the internet search engines such as google, yahoo, bing, and Mozilla firefox. They can also use web 2.0 for instance, blog, wiki, facebook, twitter, and youtube  in order to find the information.

A part from that, another 21st century learning characteristics is learning must be student-centred and personalised rather than teacher-centred.  Teachers are no longer be the main source of information or the master of the knowledge in the classroom.  Teacher in the 21stcentury should shift their methodology of teaching in order to meet the current needs of learners who good with the technology. As a result the teaching and learning process can be done in the fun and engaging way.

The last 21st century skill is life and career which are involving the flexibility, initiative, social skills, productivity, and leadership. These skills are essential for the learners in order to survive and have a good job after graduating from the school or  university. According to the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) report showed 31 percent of employers throughout the world struggle to find qualified workers because of workers’ qualifications do not meet up to the standard of the employers’ requirement. The report also highlighted that the employers want workers who can think critically, solve problems creatively, innovate, collaborate, and communicate (ACTE 2010). Thus, the 21stskills are vital for every learner these days.

The Malaysian education system nowadays is also moving toward the 21st century learning education just like the developed countries such as America, Finland, Japan, and Korea. The new Malaysia education blueprint (2013-2025) has emphasized on the 21st century skills in the second wave of the education transformation (MOE 2012). This education transformation has been done in order to equip the students holistically which are allowing them to succeed in the 21st century, with all of the opportunities and challenges that this new era presents.

In conclusion, the 21st century skills are essential for today’s learners. Therefore, as the educators, we need to shift the education paradigm by upgrading our knowledge and pedagogy so that we can produce the learners who well equip with the 21st century skills.



Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia. 2012. Pelan pembangunan pendidikan Malaysia 2013-2025. Kuala Lumpur: Pusat Perkembangan Kurikulum Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia.

Association for Career and Technical Education. 2010. Up to the Challenge The Role of Career and Technical Education and 21st Century Skills in College and Career Readiness.

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