Two Frameworks for 21st-Century Skills

Lynn ZimmermannBy Lynn Zimmerman
Associate Editor
Editor, Teacher Education

Globally there is a call for learners and workers to develop 21st-century skills. Two common frameworks are from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a group which has members from 35 countries worldwide, and DigComp developed by the European Union (EU).

The OECD states that “[o]ne approach to organizing 21st-century skills focuses on cognitive skills, intrapersonal skills, interpersonal skills, and technical skills (Ananiadou & Claro, 2009 in Geisinger, 2016).” These skills are geared toward the educational context, the work environment, and commerce. Skills such as collaboration, teamwork, and cross-cultural sensitivity are seen as key to participation and problem-solving in the global economy. Underlying all of these skills is a need for digital knowledge and proficiency.

The DigComp frameworks, now presented as DigComp 2.1, focuses on competencies related specifically to technology knowledge and skills for citizens, specifically in the workplace while DigCompEdu (Redecker, 2017) outlines educator-specific digital competences. DigComp 2.1’s eight (8) levels of competence are fitted to Bloom’s taxonomy. These range from remembering, e.g., being able to perform simple digital tasks with guidance, to creating, e.g., resolving complex problems and guiding others in high-level problem solving.

DigCompEdu presents educator-specific digital competences that are organized in six areas. These areas include educators engaging in their own growth by professional development to creating appropriate digital integration activities for their students.  

While the 21st-Century Skills framework and the DigComp frameworks are organized differently, they all have the same aim, to help everyone become more efficient and productive in the global marketplace.

What do you think about technology integration for these purposes? How and why do you integrate technology into your lessons?


Carretero, S., Vuorikari, R., and Punie, Y. (2017). DigComp 2.1 The Digital Competence Framework for Citizens with eight proficiency levels and examples. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Retrieved from

Geisinger, K. (2016). 21st Century Skills: What are they and how do we assess them? Applied Measurement in Education, 29 (4), 245-249.

Redecker, C. European Framework for the Digital Competence of Educators: DigCompEdu. Punie, Y. (ed). EUR 28775 EN. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2017, ISBN 978-92-79-73494-6, doi:10.2760/159770, JRC107466

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