Developing 21st Century Process Skills through Project Design

By Yoo, Jeong-Ju; MacDonald, Nora M. | Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, Summer 2014 | Go to article overview

Developing 21st Century Process Skills through Project Design


Yoo, Jeong-Ju, MacDonald, Nora M., Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences


Today's educators need to prepare students for living and working in a global environment. McGregor (2010) posited that we need to move the field of family and consumer sciences (FSC) toward acceptance and comfort with "integral practice." When individuals employ integral practice, they value and accept uncertainty, chaos, and change. They develop positive relationships with other people in order to solve complex problems through self-organization with a thorough understanding of the problem. To respect this complex, integral environment, FCS curricula should account for factors that will have an impact on long-term professional efficacy (McGregor, 2014), with one factor being process skills (including thinking, collaborating, and problem solving).

The 21st Century skills framework was identified in the National Standards for FCS Education (Fox, 2008; National Association of State Administrators for Family and Consumer Sciences, 2008). This framework includes four process areas: thinking, communication, leadership, and management. Building upon this framework, Mosenson and Fox (2011) proposed the 21st Century Process Skills Model for FCS professionals and students. This model integrates the four process areas into four main skill areas: thinking and problem solving, information literacy and communication, leadership and collaboration, and career and life management for student achievement and lifelong learning (Mosenson & Fox, 2011). FCS educators at all levels are encouraged to implement the 21st Century process skills into their courses.

This paper describes a case study of a fashion merchandising classroom project that fostered student learning by incorporating 21st Century process skills into the course framework. For the final course project, students conducted background research and developed a proposal for a hypothetical retail store, including production of a shopping bag prototype to reflect their target consumers' lifestyle and the mission of the proposed retail organization. The specific objective of this paper is to illustrate that a course project in an advanced fashion merchandising course could be used to enhance students' process skills: thinking/ problem solving, information literacy/communication, and leadership/collaboration skills in preparation for career and life management and lifelong learning.

This project was limited to students at one mid-Atlantic university in a fashion merchandising course over two semesters. Eightynine percent of the students were fashion merchandising majors and 11 % were studying fashion design. This paper examines the following question: What were the students' perceptions of their growth in thinking/problem-solving skills, information literacy/ communication skills, and leadership/collaboration skills relative to career and life management?

21st century process skills framework

In response to challenges students will face in our high tech, globally interdependent world, Mosenson and Fox (2011) developed the 21st Century Process Skills Model and Assessment Framework. The idea of 21st Century process skills was created in order to integrate a set of skills deemed essential for student success in college and a career. These process skills relate to the development and implementation of a course of action and this framework is designed as an assessment tool to monitor progress and performance relative to identified learning outcomes. The framework uses interlocking spheres to evaluate skills that prepare individuals for the future. These spheres include (a) thinking and problem solving-critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity/innovation; (b) information literacy and communication- information/media literacy, digital/technology literacy, and communication; and (c) leadership and collaboration-leadership/responsibility, collaboration, and social/cross-cultural skills. In the center of this model is (d) career and life management skills that help individuals become lifelong learners with the ability to adapt to a changing environment. …

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