Skills for the 21st century – and new ways to discover them

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A few weeks ago, one of us was invited to feedback a digital learning experience. The online learning nugget had been created about two decades ago to teach “good office behaviour” to young adults from a non-academic background. After the first overhaul within decades, obviously, the simulation’s look had benefited from an extensive graphic update.

What had not been updated was its content. The learning experience aimed to convince the office worker that it is of utmost importance to keep their desk clean for the sake of making the boss happy. In the feedback session, this sparked a discussion not about graphics and grammar of the learning nugget, but about if these are the right competencies and attitudes. What are the skills, today’s young office workers should master?

In the 21st-century society, a digital society marked by constant and rapid changes, we find a new need for certain skills. The common definition of 21st-century skills is those that people need in order to live and work successfully. Some crucial 21st-century skills we need to develop include our abilities to communicate and collaborate, our creativity, our flexibility when changes occur, our self-awareness and emotional intelligence. How do we effectively foster and facilitate the learning and acquisition of these crucial skills?

Communication & Collaboration

Authentic connections with people are not easy to initiate and meaningful conversation a scarcity in many teams and groups. Yet, they are a basis for successful communication and collaboration. In coaching and adult education, a proven method for sparking conversation is the use of visual tools such as the metaFox deep pictures. They unearth associations and visualise experience in metaphors – encouraging personal and meaningful exchange within a group.

Collaboration in virtual environments adds the barrier of physical absence as an obstacle to truly connecting with colleagues or coachees. This is why it becomes even more important to establish good relationships with others also across the distance of the digital space. metaFox online takes the proven concept of the deep pictures into the virtual world – in order to enable open sharing, team building activities and effective retrospectives. It does so by helping session participants get to know each other and understand what moves the other, thus allowing for a more collaborative atmosphere.


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Creativity & Change Management

The gift of creativity is central to being human. All innovations that shaped human history and brought about the digital society we have today are a direct consequence of the individual and collective creativity of people. It is difficult to teach creativity – but it can be fostered and nurtured. A new perspective on things, a different approach to a situation, the ability to think outside the box – all of these are encouraged by reflection and lateral thinking which – in turn – can be triggered through images.

The metaFox deep pictures make a problem accessible through a selection of images and in this way stimulate creativity and taking a new perspective. Looking at a question through the metaphor of an image and taking the freedom to share what comes to mind are the seeds of creative thinking.

Responding to challenges and change in a positive and constructive manner is more important than ever when the only constant is change itself. People are better able to handle and respond to changes in their lives and in society when they have a good understanding of their own life experience and perspectives and points of view beyond their own. Experiential learning is at the core of metaFox’ visual triggers: picture cards help learners discover insights within themselves, learn about other perspectives from the group and connect their personal experiences with what they’re learning.

The first version of the ‘metaFox online’ group coaching app

Self-Awareness & Emotional Intelligence

Growing our self-awareness and emotional competencies are essential in today’s world that is characterized by endless means of impersonal connectivity. A highly-developed sense of self and a deep understanding of one’s feelings and emotions often translates to a person’s readiness for and resilience amidst problems and difficult situations. A self-aware and emotionally intelligent person is also someone who is better equipped to face and solve the unique challenges of 21st-century society. This third column of skills is supported by metaFox tools. The deep pictures, no matter if on paper or online, trigger personal reflection and meaningful conversation – both of which help learners to gain knowledge of themselves and enhance their emotional intelligence.

A user chooses an image they associate and connect with the question asked.

Learn more about metaFox online and start a free session with colleagues!

You’re working in-person? Discover the deep pictures on paper.

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