Education plays a very important and strategic role in building a skilled knowledge community that has the skills: (1) technology and media literacy; (2) to communicate effectively; (3) critical thinking; (4) solve the problem; And (5) collaborate. (Wahyono and Pujiriyanto, 2010).

In the 21st century, competition in various areas of life, including the field of education, especially science education is very tight. We are faced with demands for the importance of qualified human resources and able to compete. Quality human resources, produced by quality education can be a major force to address the problems at hand. One way to go is through improving the quality of education.

As has been pointed out in a previous post that Learning 21st century has a cirri called 4C, namely:
1) Communication
In this character, learners are required to understand, manage, and create effective communication in various forms and contents in oral, written, and multimedia. Learners are given the opportunity to use their ability to express their ideas, either during discussion with friends and when solving problems from educators.

2) Collaboration
In this character, learners demonstrate their abilities in teamwork and leadership, adapt in various roles and responsibilities, work productively with others, place empathy in place, respect for different perspectives. Learners also exercise personal responsibility and personal flexibility, at work, and community relations, setting and achieving high standards and goals for themselves and others, to understand confusion.

3) Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
In this character, learners strive to provide logical reasoning in understanding and making complex choices, understanding the interconnections between systems. Learners also use the ability they have to try to solve the problems they face independently, learners also have the ability to compose and disclose, analyze, and solve problems.

4) Creativity and Innovation
In this character, learners have the ability to develop, implement, and convey new ideas to others, be open and responsive to new and different perspectives.


The skills of the XXI century are the skills needed to face life in a global society. Some organizations have defined and identified the skills of the XXI century. Although the classification of this XXI century skill from several different organizations, but essentially the same.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21, 2008) has identified 21st Century Student Learning Skills (Literature) that students and graduates desperately need to achieve and compete in the XXI century. This XXI century skill will improve the ability of marketability, employability, and readiness for citizenship. The XXI century skills referred to by The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21, 2008) are as follows:

(1) Think critically and make judgments about the abundance of information that appears every day whether on the web, in the media, in electronic media, at home, at work, and elsewhere. Critical thinking and consideration will help a person assess the credibility, accuracy, and benefits of information, analyze and evaluate information, make sensible decisions, and take responsible action.

(2) Solve complex, open, and multidisciplinary problems that all workers will face problems. The challenge faced by workers is that they will not face problems in a closed format and also do not produce a single solution, as is often found in most textbooks, but they will face problems in complex, unstructured, and require formats Multiple solutions (more than one answer). The world of work expects a worker capable of identifying problems, finding solutions and alternatives, and exploring new options if the approach is not working.

(3) Creativity and entrepreneurial thinking, ie a number of skills related to job creation. Almost all jobs expect their workers to master creative thinking skills, that is, unusual thinking skills, asking unusual questions, producing new scenarios, and producing amazing jobs. A person should be able to create jobs for himself and others with entrepreneurial thinking, such as the ability to organize and take the opportunity and desire to take risks and responsibilities.

(4) Communicate and collaborate on teams whose members come from people across cultures, geographies, and / or languages. These skills are needed in the workplace and the global community. Everyone should be able to interact with others competently and with mutual respect.

(5) Using innovative knowledge, information and opportunities to perform new services and processes and create new products. Global markets require organizations to find ways to do things better quickly and routinely. Companies want workers who can contribute as much as possible to the progress of the company.

(6) Have financial, health and citizen responsibilities and make wise choices. Every citizen should be able to save money to plan his health care. Everyone needs this skill because choices get more complex and the consequences of wrong decisions can result in harm.


Meanwhile, the National Education Association (NEA, 2015) identifies four groups of 21st Century Student Learning Skills (Competencies) that belong to the skills of the XXI century. The four skills classes are critical thinking skills, communication skills, collaborative skills, and creativity. These four skills classes are referred to as 4Cs skills (Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity). NEA revealed that educators should complete all subject matter with 4 Cs skills to prepare young people to be good citizens and to successfully compete in the job market in a global society.

The first 21st Century Learning Skills (Competency of Students) by NEA (NEA, 2015) is critical thinking. The relationship between critical thinking and education is very clear. One can not learn well without thinking critically well. Critical thinking contributes to success in studies and careers. Skills such as analysis, interpretation, precision and thoroughness, problem solving, and reasoning are more important than just certain content mastery. Teaching critical thinking and solving problems effectively in the classroom is very important for learners. Learning to think critically leads learners to develop other skills, such as high levels of concentration, analytical skills and thought processes in depth. Today, every citizen must be a critical thinker, one who is able to compare evidence, evaluate claims, and make sensible decisions. Likewise in daily work, workers must use critical thinking to provide better service to customers, and develop better products (NEA, n.d.).


The second 21st century Learning Skills (Student Competency) according to NEA (2015) is communication. Learners should be able to analyze and process some amount of information that is very abundant in life or daily work. Learners should be able to assess credible sources of information and how these sources of information can be used effectively?

The third 21st Century Learning Skills (Competency of Students) by NEA (2015) is collaboration. Generally, collaboration has been accepted as an essential skill to achieve effective and meaningful learning and work outcomes. In the current decade, collaboration is not only important, but it is also needed by everyone. Learners should be able to collaborate with each other in a global society.

The fourth (21st Century) (XXI) Student Learning Skill (XXI) by NEA (2015) is creativity. The present and future world will be filled by creative thinking people. Therefore, we must be able to become a creator, an empathy, pattern identifier, and meaning. After graduating from an educational institution, if graduates are incapable of creating and innovating continuously, they will not be prepared for the challenges of the world of work and the global community. In the world of global competition and the current task force automation, creativity and innovation are essential needs for personal and professional success. Thus, graduates should have good creativity and innovation.


The National Research Council (in Lai & Viering, 2012) has initiated the topics of learning and skills assessment of the XXI century. Type of Learning Skills (Student Competency) 21st Century required by learners to have readiness in careers and follow the education in college and career readiness is
1) cognitive skills that include critical thinking, nonroutine problem solving, and system thinking,
2) interpersonal skills that include complex communication, social skills, teamwork, cultural sensitivity, and accept differences,
3) intrapersonal skills that include self management, time management, self-development, self-regulation, adaptability, and executive function.

The Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills (ATC 21) (Binkley et al., 2010) has offered a framework for organizing different types of Learning Skills (Student Competencies) of the 21st Century. This framework includes four skills classes:
1) ways of thinking, including creativity and innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making, and metacognition or learning to learn,
2) how to work, including communication and collaboration or teamwork,
3) tools for work, including information and communication technology literacy and information (ICT) literature,
4) live in the world, including citizenship, life and career skills, and personal and social responsibilities.

The Educational Testing Service (ETS) (in the Pacific Policy Research Center, 2010) defines the 21st Century Student Learning Skills as
1) the ability to collect and obtain information,
2) organize and manage information,
3) evaluating the quality, relevance and usefulness of information, and
4) produce accurate information through the use of existing resources.

The North Central Regional Education Laboratory (NCREL, 2003) identifies the wider 21st Century Learning Skills (Competency of Students) as a learning achievement of the XXI century through digital literacy, inventive thinking, effective communication, and high productivity.

In learning activities that are characterized by the implementation of 21st century learning, there are 3 Learning Skills (Student Competency) 21st Century, namely: 1) Life and Career Skills, 2) Learning and innovations Skills - 4Cs, and 3) Information, Median and Technologi Skills.

1. Life and Career Skills
Life and Career skills (life skills and careers), including:
• Flexibility and adaptability: Learners have the ability to adapt change and are flexible in learning and engaging in groups
• Have the initiative and can manage themselves: Learners have the ability to manage goals and time, work independently and become self-regulated learners.
• Social and intercultural interactions: Learners have the ability to interact and work effectively with diverse groups.
• productivity and accountability: Learners are able to manage projects and produce products.
• Leadership and responsibility: Learners are able to lead their friends and be responsible to the wider community.

2. Learning and Innovation Skills
Learning and innovation skills (including learning and innovation skills) include:
• Critical thinking and problem solving: learners are able to use various reasons (reason) such as inductive or deductive for various situations; Use system thinking; Make decisions and solve problems
• Communication and collaboration: learners are able to communicate clearly and collaborate with other group members.
• Creativity and innovation: learners are able to think creatively, work creatively

3. Information Media and Technology Skills
Information technology and media skills, including:
• Literacy information: learners are able to access information effectively (source of information) and efficient (time); Evaluate the information to be used critically and competently; Use and manage information accurately and effectively to resolve problems.
• media literacy: learners are able to select and develop the medium used to communicate.
• ICT Literacy: learners are able to analyze information media; And create appropriate media for communication.


Based on a study on 21st Century Skills Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills has categorized 21st century skills into four major sections, enabling individuals to contribute to social capital and intellectual capital in modern times.

The four categories are; Way of thinking, including creativity, innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, decision making and learning. Second, the way of working includes communication skills, collaboration and teamwork.

Third, Skills to live in the world, including having awareness as a global citizen as well as locally, developing life and career; As well as assuming personal and social responsibility. And Fourthly, the Tool for Working Skills is based on new information and communication technologies as well as information literacy, including the ability to learn and work through digital social networks.

According to the International Society for Technology in Education, the characteristics of 21st century teachers' skills in which the information age is the key feature, sharing the skills of 21st century teachers into five categories:
1. Able to facilitate and inspire students' learning and creativity, with indicators including the following:
• Encourage, support and model creative and innovative inventions and ideas.
• Involve students in exploring real world issues and solving authentic problems using tools and digital sources.
• Encourage student reflection using collaborative tools to demonstrate and clarify students' understanding, thinking, conceptual planning and creative processes.
• Model the construction of collaborative knowledge by involving learning with students, colleagues, and other people through both face-to-face activities and through virtual environments.

2. Design and develop the learning experience and assessment of the digital age, with the following indicators:
• Design or adapt appropriate learning experiences that integrate digital tools and resources to encourage student learning and creativity.
• Develop a technology-rich learning environment that enables all students to be curious and active participants in setting learning goals, managing their own learning and measuring their own learning progress.
• Customize and personalize learning activities that can meet work style learning strategies and capabilities using diverse tools and digital resources.
• Provide a variety of formative and summative evaluation tools in accordance with technology and content standards that can provide useful information for student learning and general learning.

3. Being a model of how to learn and work in the digital era, with indicators as follows:
• Demonstrate proficiency in technology systems and transfer knowledge to new technologies and situations.
• Collaborate with students, peers, and communities using digital tools and resources to drive student success and innovation.
• Communicate ideas effectively to students, parents, and colleagues using a variety of digital media formats.
• Demonstrate and facilitate the effective use of the latest digital tools to analyze, evaluate and utilize these information sources to support research and learning.

4. Encourage and be a model of responsibility and the digital community, with indicators including the following:
• Encouraging, modeling, and teaching in a healthy, legal and ethical way using digital information technology, including copyright, intellectual property rights and documentation of learning resources.
• Meet diverse learner needs using student-centered learning strategies by providing adequate access to digital tools and other digital learning resources.
• Encourage and exemplify the digital ethics of social interaction responsibilities associated with the use of information technology.
• Develop and model cultural understanding and global awareness through engagement / participation with colleagues and students from other cultures using digital communication and collaboration tools.

5. Participate in professional development and leadership, with the following indicators:
• Participate in local and global communities to explore the application of creative technology to improve learning.
• Demonstrate leadership by demonstrating technological infusion vision, participating in joint decision making and community merging, and developing leadership and technology skills to others.
• Evaluate and reflect on current professional research and practice related to effective use rather than digital tools and resources to drive successful learning.
• Contribute to the effectiveness, vitality, and renewal associated with the teaching profession both at school and within the community.

AMA 2010 critical skills survey. Exceutive summary. (2010). http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/Critical%20Skills%20Survey%20Executive%20 Summary.pdf

Binkley, M., Erstad, O., Herman, J., Raizen, S., Ripley, M., & Rumble, M. (2010). Defining st century skills. Assessment and teaching the 21st century skills (draft white paper). Melbourne: University of Melbourne

I Wayan Redhana,  Menyiapkan Lulusan Fmipa Yang Menguasai Keterampilan Abad XXI Jurusan Pendidikan Kimia FMIPA Undiksha, Makalah pada Seminar Nasional FMIPA Undiksha V, Optimalisasi Peran MIPA dalam Membangun SDM Indonesia yang Kompetitif, 7 Desember 2015

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2008). st century skills, education & competitiveness: A resource and policy guide.

The North Central Regional Educational Laboratory and the Metiri Group. (2003). enGauge st century skills: Literacy in the digital era age. http://pict.sdsu.edu/engauge21st.pdf.

National Education Association. (n.d.). Preparing 21st century students for a global society.

Pacific Policy Research Center. (2010). st Century skills for students and teachers. Honolulu: Kamehameha Schools, Research & Evaluation Division.

Lai, E. R. & Viering, M. (2012). Assessing 21st century skills: Integrating research findings. Vancouver, B.C.: National Council on Measurement in Education


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  1. This is a very interesting and inspiring article for me

  2. Your article on 21st century skills for students and teachers is very interesting. Thank you


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