What We Educators Get Wrong About 21st-Century Learning: Results of a Survey

Punya Mishra, Rohit Mehta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Twenty-first-century learning and how it differs from prior conceptions of learning have received significant attention lately. Kereluik, Mishra, Fahnoe, and Terry (2013) offered a synthesis of multiple expert frameworks and perspectives on 21st-century learning, summarizing them in nine forms of knowledge (under three broad categories: foundational, humanistic, and meta). Using this framework, in this study, 518 practicing educators completed a survey on their beliefs about 21st-century learning, allowing us to compare practitioners' perspectives to that of the experts. Our analyses indicate that, in contrast to the expert view as Kereluik et al. synthesized, which equally valued all the categories, survey participants ranked creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking (meta-knowledge) and digital/information and communication technology (ICT) literacy (one component of foundational knowledge) as being most important. Life/job skills, ethical/emotional awareness, and cultural competence (humanistic knowledge) were ranked lower, while disciplinary and cross-disciplinary knowledge (two components of foundational knowledge) were regarded as being least important. Though these results are consistent with some popular views about 21st-century learning, we argue that this reduced emphasis on foundational and humanistic knowledge is misguided. It is, we suggest, the consequence of an unreflective emphasis on the power of technology to access information and a fundamental misunderstanding of the very nature of learning and the broader goals and purposes of education. Finally, we highlight three myths about learning in the 21st century and offer recommendations to address these myths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-19
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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