modeling viable health-care policies
21st Century Skills1

What follows are the subset of 21st century themes and skills addressed by a system dynamics modeling course, or addressed by multiple learning units in a discipline that requires building/modifying system dynamics models. In each of these activities it is assumed that students are working in groups to discuss and build/modify a model and interpret the results. The models almost always involve an attempt to understand important issues or problems of a local, regional, national, or global nature.

The core subjects to which System Dynamics models apply are English, reading, writing, arts (diagram design for effective communication) and mathematics. These subjects apply to all model building exercises. The topics addressed in the models can come from the fields of economics, science, geography, history, government and civics. Most models involve an attempt to determine policies that would help mitigate potential problems the model is trying to address. Thus, some discussion about the responsibility and responsiveness of governmental agencies is often included in the process.



Global Awareness
• Using 21st century skills to understand and address global issues

Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy
• Understanding the role of the economy in society

Civic Literacy
• Understanding the local and global implications of civic decisions

Health Literacy
• Obtaining, interpreting and understanding basic health information and services and
using such information and services in ways that enhance health

The following 21st Century Learning and Innovation Skills are exercised in a System Dynamics Modeling class whose emphasis is to understand system behavior in problems facing society.



Think Creatively
• Create new and worthwhile ideas (both incremental and radical concepts)
• Elaborate, refine, analyze and evaluate their own ideas in order to improve and maximize creative efforts

Work Creatively with Others
• Develop, implement and communicate new ideas to others effectively
• Be open and responsive to new and diverse perspectives; incorporate group input and feedback into the work
• Demonstrate originality and inventiveness in work and understand the real world limits to adopting new ideas
• View failure as an opportunity to learn; understand that creativity and innovation is a long-term, cyclical process of small successes and frequent mistakes


Reason Effectively
• Use various types of reasoning (inductive, deductive, etc.) as appropriate to the situation

Use Systems Thinking
Analyze how parts of a whole interact with each other to produce overall outcomes in complex systems

Make Judgments and Decisions
• Effectively analyze and evaluate evidence, arguments, claims and beliefs
• Analyze and evaluate major alternative points of view
• Synthesize and make connections between information and arguments
• Interpret information and draw conclusions based on the best analysis
• Reflect critically on learning experiences and processes

Solve Problems
• Solve different kinds of non-familiar problems in both conventional and innovative ways
• Identify and ask significant questions that clarify various points of view and lead to better solutions


Communicate Clearly
• Articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written and nonverbal communication skills in a variety of forms and contexts
• Listen effectively to decipher meaning, including knowledge, values, attitudes and intentions
• Use communication for a range of purposes (e.g. to inform, instruct, motivate and persuade)
• Utilize multiple media and technologies, and know how to judge their effectiveness a priori as well as assess their impact

Collaborate with Others
• Demonstrate ability to work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams
• Exercise flexibility and willingness to be helpful in making necessary compromises to accomplish a common goal
• Assume shared responsibility for collaborative work, and value the individual contributions made by each team member




Access and Evaluate Information
• Access information efficiently (time) and effectively (sources)
• Evaluate information critically and competently

Use and Manage Information
• Use information accurately and creatively for the issue or problem at hand
• Manage the flow of information from a wide variety of sources
• Apply a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of information


Analyze Media
Apply a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of media

ICT (Information, Communications and Technology) LITERACY

Apply Technology Effectively
• Use technology as a tool to research, organize, evaluate and communicate information
• Use digital technologies (computers, PDAs, media players, GPS, etc.), communication/networking tools and social networks appropriately to access, manage, integrate, evaluate and create information to successfully function in a knowledge economy
• Apply a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of information technologies



Be Flexible
• Incorporate feedback effectively
• Deal positively with praise, setbacks and criticism
• Understand, negotiate and balance diverse views and beliefs to reach workable solutions, particularly in multi-cultural environments


Manage Goals and Time
• Balance tactical (short-term) and strategic (long-term) goals
• Utilize time and manage workload efficiently

Work Independently
• Monitor, define, prioritize and complete tasks without direct oversight

Be Self-directed Learners
• Go beyond basic mastery of skills and/or curriculum to explore and expand one’s own learning and opportunities to gain expertise
• Reflect critically on past experiences in order to inform future progress


Interact Effectively with Others
• Know when it is appropriate to listen and when to speak
• Conduct themselves in a respectable, professional manner

Work Effectively in Diverse Teams
• Respect cultural differences and work effectively with people from a range of social and cultural backgrounds
• Respond open-mindedly to different ideas and values


Manage Projects
• Set and meet goals, even in the face of obstacles and competing pressures
• Prioritize, plan and manage work to achieve the intended result

Produce Results
• Demonstrate additional attributes associated with producing high quality products including the abilities to:

  • Work positively and ethically
  • Manage time and projects effectively
  • Multi-task
  • Participate actively, as well as be reliable and punctual
  • Present oneself professionally and with proper etiquette
  • Collaborate and cooperate effectively with teams
  • Respect and appreciate team diversity
  • Be accountable for results


Guide and Lead Others
• Use interpersonal and problem-solving skills to influence and guide others toward a goal
• Leverage strengths of others to accomplish a common goal
• Demonstrate integrity and ethical behavior in using influence and power

Be Responsible to Others
• Act responsibly with the interests of the larger community in mind

1 This is a sub-list of the full list of 21st Century Skills. The full list of
themes and skills was obtained from


©2010 CC Modeling Systems