21st Century Skills – Elevating Student Learning

By Mark de Jong, BC, M.A.Ed. – General Manager of  Stenden University Bali

21st century skills refer to a broad set of knowledge, skills, work habits and character traits that are believed to be critically important to success in today’s world. Today’s leaders ‘worldwide’ are looking for young professionals, who show abilities to ‘ask good questions’, ‘engage in a good discussion’, ‘work well with others’ and ‘engage customers’.

Hereto, Stenden University Bali recognizes the fact that students need to master several survival skills to thrive in this dynamic world of work; the same skills that will enable students to become productive professionals in the 21st century.

To satisfy these modern-day demands, Stenden University Bali integrates contemporary methods of education such as problem-based learning, research & development and practice throughout the curriculum, combined referred to at Stenden as ‘real world learning’, occurring in a setting driven by a mix of national and international students and staff.


To be specific; firstly, students of Stenden practice 21st century skills through engaging widely in problem based learning within the curriculum. Students actively seek out new knowledge using real case studies from the industry, via this 7 steps approach. The approach provides students with the opportunity to practice 21st century skills, such as initiative, entrepreneurialism, critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, curiosity and imagination. As a result, students develop assertiveness to continuously improve products, processes, or services. The heart of critical thinking and problem solving is the ability to ask the right questions, with that, developing students’ capacities for imagination, creativity and empathy have become increasingly important for maintaining competitive advantages.

Secondly, through a wide range of research assignments and projects, students of Stenden develop skills such as agility and adaptability through learning how to access and analyse Information. Through taught research skills students learn how to manage astronomical amounts of information. In a 21st century setting it’s not only the sheer quantity of information that represents a challenge, but also how fast the information is changing. Young professionals today have to think fast, be flexible, change and apply a variety of tools to solve issues.

Lastly, prominence of practicing and developing in work-related settings throughout the curriculum within the Bachelor programmes of Stenden teaches students to develop modern-day skills such as influential leadership and effective written and oral communication. Young individuals just out of school should have preparedness in general leadership skills and collaborative skills. A general focus should be in preparing students to have the ability to influence. Hereto, students have to be taught to communicate in a clear and concise way; the need to create focus, energy, and passion around the points they want to make. It’s about communicating with a ‘real’ voice.

Stenden University Bali, being part of 8 campuses worldwide in 5 different countries, draws from co-created international curricula, integrating international and national context in order to supply Bachelor students with the right set of skills to get to the top!

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