21st Century Learning Design (21CLD) | SRI International

Toggle Menu
participants in a 21CLD workshop in Brunei

21st Century Learning Design (21CLD)

SRI developed a program to provide teachers with a practical framework and tools for building new learning opportunities into their lesson plans.

21CLD (21st Century Learning Design) is a professional development program developed by SRI. When teachers participate in the 21CLD program, they receive a practical framework and set of tools for building 21st century learning opportunities into their lessons.
There is growing agreement in many countries that students need more than rote subject matter understanding to succeed in this rapidly-changing world: instead, they need to be skilled at collaborating, constructing deep subject-matter knowledge, solving real-world problems, using information and communication technologies (ICT) in powerful ways, and a host of other “21st century skills” that traditional schooling models rarely promote. 21CLD helps teachers build opportunities for students to develop these skills in their classroom.
Program development was funded by Microsoft Partners in Learning and in-country sponsors in several countries, with support from the Pearson Foundation. The tools and frameworks of 21CLD are rooted in a multinational SRI-led research program called ITL (Innovative Teaching and Learning) Research and in decades of learning sciences research on how teaching strategies can enable more powerful subject matter learning.
The core of 21CLD is a hands-on workshop that can take place over three days, or can be spread over a longer period of time to allow teachers to try out the ideas in their classrooms and discuss the results. In the workshop setting, teachers work together using research-based definitions, rubrics, and lesson examples to recognize and design instruction that supports students in building important skills in these areas:

  • Collaboration
  • Knowledge construction
  • Skilled communication
  • Real-world problem-solving and innovation
  • Use of ICT for learning
  • Self regulation

This program gives teachers from any discipline or student age group the tools to build 21st century skills into their lessons. In addition, it provides a common language and framework to help teachers build complementary skill development opportunities across the curriculum, and provides a process for ongoing teacher collaboration around 21st century instructional design.
Microsoft Partners in Learning offers a version of the 21CLD materials free of charge with an open creative commons license.

21CLD is currently in use by teachers in many countries around the world, and SRI is working with partners in Singapore, Brunei, and other countries to continue research and development and to support successful ongoing implementation. For more information, please 21CLD [at] sri.com (contact us).

Participant Feedback

  • "I am seeing a set of tools that can really transform learning... FINALLY. We need to find ways to scale this extremely meaningful and effective training to as many educators [as possible]. Imagine how many students will benefit through the leveling up of teaching and transforming of learning experiences!" Teacher, Singapore
  • "21CLD provided me with the tools necessary to view lesson design in a new light and really begin to make transformative decisions in my approach to teaching and learning. It challenged me to be a better educator and raise the bar for learners in the classroom. 21st century skills aren't just another thing to teach; they are essential skills that every learner should have as they leave our schools." Teacher, USA
  • “I think the term ‘21st century skills’ has been overused to the point of confusion about which skills educators should be addressing. The 21CLD rubrics make these skills explicit and uses language accessible to all teachers so that incorporating them into lessons or assessments becomes easier.” Teacher, South Africa