The relation between 21st-century skills and digital skills: A systematic literature review

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Abstract

Innovation starts with people, making the human capital within the workforce decisive. In a fast-changing knowledge economy, 21st-century digital skills drive organizations' competitiveness and innovation capacity. Although such skills are seen as crucial, the digital aspect integrated with 21st-century skills is not yet sufficiently defined. The main objectives of this study were to (1) examine the relation between 21st-century skills and digital skills; and (2) provide a framework of 21st-century digital skills with conceptual dimensions and key operational components aimed at the knowledge worker. A systematic literature review was conducted to synthesize the relevant academic literature concerned with 21st-century digital skills. In total, 1592 different articles were screened from which 75 articles met the predefined inclusion criteria. The results show that 21st-century skills are broader than digital skills – the list of mentioned skills is far more extensive. In addition, in contrast to digital skills, 21st-century skills are not necessarily underpinned by ICT. Furthermore, we identified seven core skills: technical, information management, communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving. Five contextual skills were also identified: ethical awareness, cultural awareness, flexibility, self-direction and lifelong learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-588
JournalComputers in human behavior
Volume72
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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Innovation
Information Management
Creativity
Information management
Communication
Economics
Learning
Organizations
Literature Review
21st Century
Direction compound
Drive
Thinking

Keywords

  • 21st-Century skills
  • Digital Skills
  • Digital Literacy
  • Labor
  • Systematic literature review

Cite this

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title = "The relation between 21st-century skills and digital skills: A systematic literature review",
abstract = "Innovation starts with people, making the human capital within the workforce decisive. In a fast-changing knowledge economy, 21st-century digital skills drive organizations' competitiveness and innovation capacity. Although such skills are seen as crucial, the digital aspect integrated with 21st-century skills is not yet sufficiently defined. The main objectives of this study were to (1) examine the relation between 21st-century skills and digital skills; and (2) provide a framework of 21st-century digital skills with conceptual dimensions and key operational components aimed at the knowledge worker. A systematic literature review was conducted to synthesize the relevant academic literature concerned with 21st-century digital skills. In total, 1592 different articles were screened from which 75 articles met the predefined inclusion criteria. The results show that 21st-century skills are broader than digital skills – the list of mentioned skills is far more extensive. In addition, in contrast to digital skills, 21st-century skills are not necessarily underpinned by ICT. Furthermore, we identified seven core skills: technical, information management, communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving. Five contextual skills were also identified: ethical awareness, cultural awareness, flexibility, self-direction and lifelong learning.",
keywords = "21st-Century skills, Digital Skills, Digital Literacy, Labor, Systematic literature review",
author = "{van Laar}, Ester and {van Deursen}, {Alexander Johannes Aloysius Maria} and {van Dijk}, {Johannes A.G.M.} and {de Haan}, Jos",
year = "2017",
doi = "10.1016/j.chb.2017.03.010",
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journal = "Computers in human behavior",
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AB - Innovation starts with people, making the human capital within the workforce decisive. In a fast-changing knowledge economy, 21st-century digital skills drive organizations' competitiveness and innovation capacity. Although such skills are seen as crucial, the digital aspect integrated with 21st-century skills is not yet sufficiently defined. The main objectives of this study were to (1) examine the relation between 21st-century skills and digital skills; and (2) provide a framework of 21st-century digital skills with conceptual dimensions and key operational components aimed at the knowledge worker. A systematic literature review was conducted to synthesize the relevant academic literature concerned with 21st-century digital skills. In total, 1592 different articles were screened from which 75 articles met the predefined inclusion criteria. The results show that 21st-century skills are broader than digital skills – the list of mentioned skills is far more extensive. In addition, in contrast to digital skills, 21st-century skills are not necessarily underpinned by ICT. Furthermore, we identified seven core skills: technical, information management, communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving. Five contextual skills were also identified: ethical awareness, cultural awareness, flexibility, self-direction and lifelong learning.

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