5 Domains of a Future Ready Learner

I have the amazing opportunity to work with educators across the United States and around the world. One of my first conversations always revolves around what matters.  Recently, I worked with educators from the Virginia Beach City Public Schools and they discussed a new Commonwealth mandate, the Portrait of a Virginia Graduate. This was incredibly interesting and led me to begin to research practices throughout the world. These ideas are not new.

Working with school leaders, the conversation often turns to the vision the school has for students when they leave the system. These attributes become the profile of a graduate.  An important point here is that everyone in the school system is responsible for creating this graduate.  The profile requires everyone in elementary, middle, and high school to contribute to all aspects of the learners’ development, success, and graduation. They must educate students for jobs that do not yet exist. This statement has been with me since I viewed the first Did You Know” Powerpoint many years ago.

Through experience, conversations, and research I have found that these competencies for the future-ready learner typically occur within five domains. The graphic below shares these domains:


Obviously, these traits have been determined to be critical by global, economic, and future-thinking organizations around the world and thus become attributes that schools and school systems must consider.

The Global Challenge Initiative has stated that the world will need 470 million new jobs by 2030. They have indicated, “The key to economic growth lies in the talent, know-how, skills, and capabilities of its people – its human capital. Investing in this and innovating for education and employment is critical to both the public and private interest”. To support this initiative, The World Economic Forum presented a multi-faceted report The Future of Jobs recently. This report looked at the evolving employment landscape, preparation of future skills needed, and job content. The findings reinforced the attributes and domains of the Future Ready Graduate found in the schools and systems materials found through my work.

With the challenges of a new workforce, the content and skills provided by educators will be critical to individual success (students), organizational success (employers), and global success (making the world a better place). I am excited by this opportunity as a passionate proponent of authentic and project-based learning, which I believe can be an important part of transforming teaching and learning to meet the wants and needs of the future.

Our issue as educators is how to make this happen? The workforce skills gap has been around for more than a decade, as have these ideas and attributes. We must educationally do something different. To succeed, educational leaders should consider: Alignment with Mission and Vision, Curriculum Integration, Infrastructure, Professional Learning Communities, and Educational Leadership. These ideas were discussed in my previous blog post.

Look for my next post where I will examine each domain and how systems can work to provide these opportunities and create future-ready graduates. 

Dr. David L. Reese serves as Chief Academic Officer for Defined Learning. During the past twenty years, Dr. Reese has served K-12 students as a science teacher, Curriculum Specialist, and Central Office Administrator. He has taught Masters and Doctoral courses in all areas of curriculum and professional development leadership. His work focuses on providing students with engaging, relevant learning opportunities designed to encourage students to apply content from a local, national and international perspective.




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