Innovative Pedagogies in Higher Education to Become Effective Teachers of 21st Century Skills: Unpacking the Learning and Innovations Skills Domain of the New Learning Paradigm

Charles Kivunja


As today’s graduates engage with the demands of the current Knowledge Age, the skills that they need to succeed in their lives after college, or any other institution of higher learning, are 21st century skills rather than 20th century skills. Kivunja (2014) calls this “the new learning paradigm” (p.85). Unfortunately, those skills are not yet included in many of the learning outcomes prescribed by most educational jurisdictions or required to be assessed in high-stakes state and national examinations. It is essential that policy makers, across all nations, and in particular higher education providers, have a firm understanding of the skills most in demand in the 21st century Digital World, how those skills relate to the orthodoxy academic standards, and how those skills can be effectively taught. So, it is imperative to ask and answer the questions: what are those skills, and how can they be taught effectively to present and future students in higher education to improve their Digital Economy readiness?
This paper answers these questions in four ways. First, it gives a brief review of literature that highlights the meaning of effective teaching and its importance in pedagogy. Second, it reviews literature on the new learning paradigm that will equip learners with 21st century skills and explains what the 21st century skills are. Third, arguing that those skills constitute a new way of effective teaching and learning, the paper articulates the different domains of the new learning paradigm which comprise these skills. Fourth, it discusses the first of the domains – the Learning and Innovations Skills domain – so as to explain how the skills in this domain can be effectively taught to enable higher education students to graduate well equipped with the skills most in demand for success in today’s knowledge-based, Digital World.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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