As a citizen of the 21st century,
you should know how to:

  • Try to learn efficiently and autonomously according to your goals, context and needs.

  • Reinvent yourself, experience and learn over and over again.

  • Pursue and persist in learning, be willing and committed to relearn and adapt. Be aware of what you need to manage your own learning process and needs.

  • Be curious, explore, investigate, research, think, reflect, analyze, continue to learn throughout your life (e.g., a new app, a new programming language)

  • Identifying learning opportunities and overcoming obstacles to keep you learning

  • Learning to do new, different things or doing the same thing, but in a different way

  • Having ethics during learning, building on previous knowledge and experiences to achieve new skills more efficiently each time

  • Learn from different contexts, culture, skills, background, etc.

Learning to use a computer, a cellphone, or social media is not enough. Having digital skills means developing:

Competence Area
  • Reading comprehension
  • Critical thinking, creative thinking (divergent thinking)
  • Ability to manage your learning activity and processes
  • Problem-solving
  • Cognitive self-regulation
  • Ability to concentrate for short and extended periods of time
  • Communication: ability to communicate using different forms (verbal, non-verbal, oral, foreign language)
    and means (email, video chat, instant messaging, blogs, wikis, websites, social media, papers, presentations, or face-toface conversation)
  • Going beyond basic mastery skills
  • Expanding your learning opportunities
  • Motivation, confidence, positive attitude towards learning and improvement
  • Seeing your achievements as results of your efforts (internal attribution)
  • Self-concept, self-esteem, self-efficacy
  • Self-confidence, autonomy
  • Emotional self-regulation and anxiety control (ability to control your emotions)
  • Initiative to learn more and advance professionally
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Valuing interpersonal relationships, team work
  • Cooperation, solidarity, interpersonal skills
  • Controlling environmental conditions for better learning
  • Having cultural knowledge
  • Cooperative regulation and control
  • Collaborative learning to learn
  • Monitoring comprehension and task performance
  • Mastering, understanding, remembering, and summarizing information strategies
  • Monitoring and evaluation of efficacy of processes and strategies
  • Regulating cognitive processes: anticipating, planning, evaluation and transferring
  • Conocimiento de sí mismo, de la tarea y de las estrategias para abordarla
  • Planificación, organización y gestión del tiempo
  • Self-evaluation, self-control, self-regulation
  • Problem-solving
  • Ability to plan learning activities
  • Reflecting on your learning behaviour
  • Reflect critically on your skills, knowledge, goal and progress
  • Being responsible for learning
  • Commit yourself to learning
  • Having a work ethics/learning ethics (commitment)
  • Respecting ethical and deontological codes

Sources: The framework is based on a review of existing digital competency frameworks
(Griffin, McGaw, & Care, 2012; Hautamäki et al., 2002; López et al., 2020).

Learnability is essential
for lifelong learning:

  • It is never too late to learn.
    At 70, Sumiko Iwamuro, became the oldest student ever
    to learn DJ techniques and is now the longest-running DJ
    in the world.


Aprender a Aprender

What do we mean when we talk about <learning how to learn>? Knowing how to regulate learning processes in order to make our efforts more effective is a key life skill. This document offers recommendations on how to learn to regulate learning processes other than learning how to learn.

Download it now!



  • Héctor Ruiz Martín
    International Science Teaching Foundation

Lifelong learning

Why systems of learning need to adapt to a new normal of global life? Alarm bells have been ringing for the last decade about the future of work and the changing skills demands brought on by technology and automation. The rapid onset of COVID-19 has only accelerated the pace of change. This skills brief offers recommendations on how to properly enable lifelong learning systems.

Download it now!



  • Emilee Erwin
    Vice President, Strategy and Public Affairs D2L

  • Joe Pickerill
    Senior Strategy and Public Affairs Director D2L

  • Brendan Desetti
    Director, Government and Stakeholder Relations D2L


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Find out what the IDB Group has done in adaptability skills


21st century skills help individuals of all ages to reinvent themselves throughout life, adapt to changing and diverse circumstances, and identify opportunities for growth amid differences.


What are these skills?