Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century

This resource helps practitioners better understand career pathways programs and expand practioners’ professional knowledge.

James W. Pellegrino
Margaret L. Hilton
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
Committee on Defining Deeper Learning and 21st Century Skills
Center for Education
Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
National Research Council
Publication Year
Resource Type
Key Words

This report describes the important set of key skills that increase deeper learning, college and career readiness, student-centered learning, and higher order thinking. These labels include both cognitive and non-cognitive skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, effective communication, motivation, persistence, and learning to learn. 21st century skills also include creativity, innovation, and ethics that are important to later success and may be developed in formal or informal learning environments. This report also describes how these skills relate to each other and to more traditional academic skills and content in the key disciplines of reading, mathematics, and science.  This resource summarizes the findings of the research that investigates the importance of such skills to success in education work, and other areas of adult responsibility and that demonstrates the importance of developing these skills in K-16 education.

Benefits and Uses

Adult educators will be able to: (1) Define and describe key academic skills for adult learners and (2)  Explain how these skills relate to each other, to traditional academic skills, and to content in reading, mathematics, and science.

Resource Notice

This resource was reviewed and vetted through the Designing Instruction for Career Pathways initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education under Contract No. ED-CFO-10-A-0072/0001.