PROMOTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE FOUR “SUPER SKILLS’’ OF THE 21ST CENTURY: A CASE STUDY OF A BUSINESS STATISTICS COURSE AT THE UNIVERSIDAD LOYOLA ANDALUCIA
1 Universidad Loyola Andalucía (SPAIN)
2 Universitat Oberta Catalunya (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:The P21's Framework for 21st Century Learning was created to define the skills that students need to succeed in work, life and citizenship: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity (known as the Four C’s or four “super skills” for the 21st Century). This paper introduces a teaching experience whose main objective was to promote the development of the Four C’s in students at the Universidad Loyola Andalucía (with campuses in Sevilla and Córdoba). Through a group project, the development of these skills was integrated into the Business Statistics II course (in the English version of the subject) in the Bachelor Degree of Business Administration (2015/16). The course was divided into two parts and the teaching innovation project was implemented only in the second part. During the first part of the semester, students were evaluated using a traditional teaching methodology, whereas during the second part, they were evaluated using the evaluation criteria proposed in the teaching project. During the teaching innovation project, students were asked to develop, in groups, a complete statistical study including the phases of instrument creation, data collection, descriptive analysis and inferential analysis using the knowledge acquired during the course. Students needed to select the problem to be analysed (to promote the development of creativity skills), collect the data and apply the relevant statistical tools. Students needed to explain the consequences of their statistical results with regard to the problem being addressed (to foster the development of critical thinking skills). The groups were created by mixing students from Córdoba with students from Sevilla (to promote the development of collaboration and communication skills). Apart from those already mentioned, several other teaching strategies were adopted to promote the development of the four C’s during the project. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test was applied to assess the differences in the median mark obtained by students during the first and second part of the course and the Friedman and Nemenyi tests were used to assess the differences in the scores obtained in the Four C’s (as an online questionnaire was provided to students at the end of the semester to analyse their perceptions with respect to the development of those skills). Results showed that the mean mark obtained by students was significantly lower during the first period of the semester than in the second.
Furthermore, the Nemenyi test reported that:
(i) critical thinking skills were significantly better implemented during the project than the communication skills and
(ii) there were no significant differences at the level of implementation/promotion in the course between critical thinking, creativity and collaboration skills.
In overall terms, course participants evaluated the teaching innovation project very positively. They highlighted the importance of learning through real-life examples and being able to put themselves in someone else's shoes. Finally, students pointed out two areas of the project that should be revised. These aspects were the timing when the research project was carried out and group communication issues. Future teaching innovation projects will promote the use of tools that facilitate communication and work planning among students and will provide guidelines to students for working with their peers.
Keywords: 21st Century Skills, Business Statistics, Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, Critical thinking.