What Must The Children And Young People Of The 21st Century Learn To Act In Today’s World?

When we ask ourselves what the children and young people of the 21st century must learn to act in today’s world, the areas related to technology, learning capacity, collaborative spirit and leadership stand out.

In the digital age in which we live, in which everything moves and changes at a dizzying speed, children must develop a series of abilities and skills different from those that their parents and grandparents needed to make their lives.


Children have to enhance their learning capacity, know about technology, develop their creativity and critical thinking , act flexibly and work on their communication skills, among other critical skills, as key elements that will allow them to meet the demands of today’s world. and of the future.

Developing these skills is a challenge both for the educational system and for the children’s parents, because they are not usually enrolled in the traditional formal curriculum; therefore, they will require a more active accompaniment of the representatives.

8 necessary skills for children and young people of the 21st century

Learning capacity

The speed with which changes are taking place in today’s world, which will surely be more violent in the future, means that children and young people have to enhance their learning capacity.

In the business environment, the term learnability has been coined , which translates as “learnability”, a meaning that is not yet recognized by the Royal Spanish Academy. The learnability refers to the ability to be developed to be continually learning, updating as demanded by the environment.

The ability to learn is very useful and recognized in millennials and in generation Z, who already have in their DNA the self-management of knowledge through a walk on the internet.

Those who do not enhance their learning capacity run the risk of stagnating and, consequently, of having serious difficulties adapting to changes, which will translate into problems in the professional field.


Digital thinking is among the basic competences that children and young people have to learn to function in today’s world, and to look to the future.

This implies a creative, analytical and practical use of new technologies as great enablers of the achievement of the objectives. Nowadays it is unthinkable to do small and everyday tasks without the intermediation of technology; therefore, since they are babies, children are more than used to handling these tools.

However, the development of digital thinking is not simply limited to the use of technology, but requires going further: it involves working on the analysis of the information at hand in order to distinguish what is really relevant.

Creativity and curiosity

In today’s world, standards are often imposed. That is why those who let themselves be carried away by the spark that arouses curiosity and who always move, enhancing their creativity, will stand out.

Curiosity and imagination are typical of children, who constantly invent incredible situations in the middle of playful activities. However, the traditional formal educational system tends to put barriers to this inventiveness when the future really demands to exploit it even more.

Boosting creativity constantly leads to innovation, and with this comes the resolution of problems in a different way, which could translate into greater progress for the environment.

Critical thinking

One of the skills that are required today and that will make more sense in the future is critical thinking and problem solving.

To truly understand a problem you have to start by analyzing it, evaluating it, knowing its parts and seeing how they work as a whole. This is why it is necessary to empower children and young people with their capacity for analysis, so that they can find and handle different views of each situation.

Consequently, they will be able to use knowledge effectively to propose novel solutions.

Flexibility and adaptability

The present already demands knowing how to adapt with agility to changes. We are constantly on the move, and the future will surely be more dizzying.

For this reason, from a young age children should be encouraged to be flexible with themselves, with others and with the environment, showing them that everything is constantly changing. Encouraging them to expose themselves to new situations and to dare to change is a way of enhancing these skills in them.

Assertive communication

In order for an adult to be able to assertively communicate his ideas in the future, either orally or in writing, it is necessary that this skill be worked on from an early age. This is especially imperative in the midst of the digital age that we live in.

In order to achieve assertive communication, it is necessary to enhance the analysis as well as the reasoning of their points of view, and work on the construction of arguments while developing the skills of empathy and active listening.

To the extent that assertiveness is encouraged in children and young people, violence and aggressiveness can be avoided, as they will be prepared to handle situations in which they have to express their points of view in a timely manner and respecting their interlocutors.

Collaborative spirit

Definitely the professional world, and even the personal one, requires that children and young people work more and more to develop their ability to interact with others and form teams oriented to the achievement of common goals.

In a digital context in which communications can be generated through different channels with different characteristics, it is important that the collaborative sense always prevails in all interactions.

For this, it is necessary for the child to learn to value and respect differences, to make the most of the qualities of their peers and to join forces to achieve the proposed goal.

In turn, this requires the conjugation of other critical skills such as communication, empathy, adaptability, creativity and learning capacity.


The ability to influence others is increasingly valued in the professional environment, and the 21st century is no exception. In an increasingly competitive world, those who know how to exercise leadership with influence will be more attractive to fill more demanding roles.

It is essential that from a very young age children are motivated to be the ones who take the initiative, to be active subjects both in their own lives and in their environment so that they begin to work on their leadership skills.


  1. “Learning in the 21st century: 7 skills that students must develop to be successful” (April 1, 2017) at Universidad Continental. Retrieved April 29, 2019 at Universidad Continental: blogs. uncontinental.edu.pe
  2. «The skills for greater success in the world» (September 30, 2017) in Semana. Recovered April 29, 2019 in Semana: semana.com
  3. Sánchez, J. (23 February 2017) «An education for the XXI century» in Diario de Sevilla. Retrieved April 29, 2019 in Diario de Sevilla: diariodesevilla.es
  4. Severín, E (February 8, 2012) Learning in the XXI century in Focus on Education. Retrieved April 29, 2019 in Focus on Education: blogs.aidb.org
  5. Scott, C. (2015) «The Futures of learning 2: what kind of learning for the 21st century?» in UNESDOC Digital Library. Retrieved April 29, 2019 in UNESDOC Digital Library unesdoc.unesco.org

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *