Collaborative Endeavours and Challenges of 21st-Century Skills in Tertiary Distance Education

Keywords: 21st-century skills, connectivism, collaboration, digital learning, heutagogy, multi-literacies, paragogy


Anecdotal evidence indicates that the curricula of tertiary distance education institutions and the skills sets of faculty and students do not match those required in the digital age. Developments in the context of changing realities within which educators teach and students learn, pose a variety of challenges. The acquisition of meta-literacies and specific knowledge has unique implications and demands multi-tasking and multi-faceted skilling. This article presents a conceptual meta-analysis of discourses on required 21st-century skills and meta-literacies. The goal of this analysis is to do basic research to delineate a conceptual map of key trends to serve as a theoretical foundation for a follow-up case study to be conducted at a tertiary distance educational institution. The findings of the purposive literature survey are expected to lead to the identification of various required multi-literacies and the recognition of the context of changing realities within which educators teach and students learn. The implications of curriculum development, the necessity of applying appropriate teaching strategies, and the personal development and training of educators and students in transition of becoming collaborative knowledge creators are some of the future developments in educational practices of the digitalised environment that require greater awareness and further research.