15 Habits For Learning In The 21st Century

Defining 21st century skills is an editorial matter. There are dozens of examples floating range with a range of authority behind them—some inspired, grassroots efforts, other core brands of multimillion dollar organizations making a national push.

There is even debate as to whether they are truly necessary, the idea being that learning habits and priorities are timeless, and do not change because the world itself changes. But the scale and rate of change are unrelenting.

Culture oozes forward.

Trends and movements emerge and overwhelm old habits.

Technology does its dizzying dance.

And learning has to change with it.

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What’s a “Currency”?

Anything of value can be considered currency. In a system of bartering, items or service are exchanged. Money for widgets, one service for another. In education, learners find their own currencies–currencies that often diverge from those set by educators.

But on a broader level, while learning will likely always have as its foundation the ability to read, write, and think, in the fast-paced, information-rich, socialized digital world of 2012, new currencies are emerging for learners to master–new skills, concepts, and thinking habits that are crucial to a consistent ability to absorb, process, and redistribute data and original thinking as a global citizen.

The currencies listed below are inspired by a variety of thinkers, in form most of all by Art Costa and Bena Kallick’s excellent Habits of Mind.

These fifteen currencies represent Edudemic’s position on defining what 21st century skills should involve, a topic we take to task in the June issue of Edudemic Magazine. 

Edudemic Learning Currencies 2.0


  1. Fred Harwood

    June 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    A thought provoking blend of ideas but the image is mired in one paradigm. The funnels seem to indicate that learning is acquired and expoused. Two of the habits involve intimate communities and collaboration. Participation in learning and social connectivity are powerful educational environments. Communal webs allow for us to bring different perspectives, experiences and connections to extend the learning and to send it in new directions. Another image, or a blending of images will allow us to visualize education from multiple paradigms. An excellent source for thinking about these paradigms is Anna Sfard’s “On two metaphors for learning and the dangers of choosing just one”. It is availablel from a multiple of sources. One link is provided here through Sage.

  2. Terry Heick

    June 26, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Fred–Thanks for the feedback. How would you see a “2.0” version of this graphic revised?

    In terms of Sfard’s work, I’ll check it out.

  3. Michele Lally

    June 26, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Thank you Terry, the more I learn, the more confident I feel to have my own M/M Sped class of students :) Michele