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Rethinking 21st century schools: the quest for lifelong learning ecosystems

Repensando as escolas do século XXI: a busca por ecossistemas de aprendizagem ao longo da vida

Repensando las escuelas del siglo XXI: la búsqueda de ecosistemas de aprendizaje a lo largo de la vida


The relevance of current education towards the needs of 21st century society is questioned as most schools, especially in developing countries that offer their students homogenizing learning experiences in the 19th century style. This paper presents the results of a mixed-method study focused on identifying the main features of 21st century education as a concept that should promote lifelong learning experiences. The method combined a systematic literature review, survey application, visits to innovative schools and interviews with international educational experts. Results show the relevance of a soft skills-centered and purpose-oriented curricula, the activation of personal learning paths and the minimization of instruction in favor of research as a teaching approach. It is noteworthy that, although most of the results are widely discussed in the literature, they are currently presented with new possibilities of implementation and with a greater innovation potential, due to the technological evolution of our time.

21st century education; Personal learning paths; Educational research; Lifelong learning; Learning ecosystems

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