8 methodologies that every 21st century teacher should know

8 methodologies that every 21st century teacher should know

Flipped Classroom, Design Thinking, Project-Based Learning… we review 8 of the most popular modern teaching methodologies.

New teaching methodologies are changing the educational environments around the world and driving better academic performance among students. We go over some of the main innovative approaches that educators have forged over the last few years and that every 21st century teacher should be acquainted with.

Flipped Classroom

One of the modern methodologies that has gained more popularity in recent years, Flipped Classroom is a pedagogical approach in which the traditional elements of the lesson taught by the teacher are reversed – the primary educational materials are studied by the students at home and, then, worked on in the classroom.

The main objective of this methodology is to optimize time in class by dedicating it, for example, to meet the special needs of each individual student, develop cooperative projects or work on specific tasks.

Project-Based Learning

With the arrival of new information and communication technologies to schools, both new teaching methodologies as well as new versions of existing methodologies, now revised and updated for the digital generation, have emerged. One of the most used in class at present is Project-Based Learning (PBL).

In its essence, PBL allows students to acquire key knowledge and skills through the development of projects that respond to real-life problems.

The teaching based on projects or integrated tasks, is today the best didactic guarantee for an effective development of key skills while also acquiring the knowledge of the curriculum’s content.

Starting from a concrete problem, instead of the traditional theoretical and abstract model, sees notable improvements in students’ ability to retain knowledge as well as the opportunity to develop complex competencies such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration or the problem solving.

Cooperative Learning

“Stronger together”. This concept in a simple way cooperative learning, a methodology that teachers use to group students together and, thus, impact on learning in a positive way.

The proponents of this model theorize that working in a group improves the attention, involvement and acquisition of knowledge by students.

The final goal is always group-oriented and will be achieved if each of the members successfully perform their tasks.

The main characteristic is that it is structured based on the formation of groups of 3-6 people, where each member has a specific role and to reach the objectives it is necessary to interact and work in a coordinated manner.

In a cooperative learning context, the final goal is always common and will be achieved if each of the members successfully performs their tasks. On the other hand, individual learning has students focusing on achieving their objectives without having to depend on the rest of their classmates.


The integration of game mechanics and dynamics in non-ludic environments, or gamification, has been practiced for a long time. Over the past few years, however, and particularly due to the evolution of videogames, the phenomenon has gathered unprecedented dimension, and is one of the most talked about as a current and future trend of the EdTech industry.

Since, in the 80’s, games with an international vocation such as the “Carmen Sandiego” series or “Reader Rabbit” (see infographic below) have gained worldwide popularity, the development of educational titles has increased consistently. Not only those aimed at the general public but, ever more often, those specifically designed for students and particular courses.

A History of the educational videogame

This trend was consolidated with the increasing inclusion of gamification in school curricula and it is estimated that this inclusion will continue to grow in the future.

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Problem-Based Learning

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is a cyclic learning process composed of many different stages, starting with asking questions and acquiring knowledge that, in turn, leads to more questions in a growing complexity cycle.

Putting this methodology into practice does not only mean the exercise of inquiry by students, but convert it into useful data and information. According to several educators, the four great advantages observed with the use of this methodology are:

  • The development of critical thinking and creative skills
  • The improvement of problem solving abilities
  • Increased student motivation
  • Better knowledge sharing in challenging situations

Design Thinking

Education has always been a prolific space for innovation. Teachers all over the world are constantly coming up with new ideas and methodologies to introduce in the classroom making the best of the tools at their disposal.

Design Thinking (DT) applied stems from industrial designers and their unique method to solve problems and satisfy the needs of their clients. Applied to education, this model makes possible to identify with greater accuracy the individual problems of each student and generate in their educational experience the creation and innovation towards the satisfaction of others, which then becomes symbiotic.

Thinking-Based Learning

Beyond the debate around the effectiveness of learning by memorizing facts and data when discussing education, one of the most talked about aspects is the need to show students how to work with the information they receive at school. Teach them to contextualize, analyze, relate, argue… In short, convert information into knowledge.

This is the goal of Thinking-Based Learning (TBL), developing thinking skills beyond memorization and, in doing so, developing effective thinking on part of the students.

Competency-Based Learning

By definition, all learning methodologies have the acquisition of knowledge, the development of skills and the establishment of work habits as their main goals. Competency-Based Learning (CBL) represents a set of strategies to achieve this.

Through assessment tools such as rubrics, teachers can go through the academic curriculum without significant deviations but focusing it in a different way, putting into practice real examples and, thus, transmitting to their students a more tangible dimension of the lessons.

Photo:  VFS Digital Design


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  1. I have liked the inforomation provided about the 21st teaching approaches. I would like to keep posted in order for me to learn more and improve my work as a teacher.

  2. Great!
    Very valuable knowledge.
    My best regards.

  3. Really powerfull information.I have enjoyed each material. I have found the answer to some questions I had.I am going to take into consideration all of them, beginning with today.
    Great Job!!
    Thank you.

  4. Great.It is very useful for us ,for teachers.Thank you very much.

  5. I loved the teaching aproaches especially whenthe videos as examples.. Thank you

  6. Very useful ways…thank i so much

  7. Thank you for this valuable updates. My only remark is that an approach is not a method, and I noticed that sometimes they are used interchangeably. I wish to see the implementation of some approaches in real classroom activities. Design Thinking, competency based learning and thinking based learning could be just what has always existed in a learning situation where thinking and analysing is required. Not all situations lead themselves to this. When a student must know the irregular verbs, mechanical skills and mémorisation are required. Flexibility according to the students’needs and conditions is more important than sticking to one approach or another
    Best regards

    • Hello Sabah,
      Thank you for reading us and for your kind feedback.
      Best regards.

  8. hi
    thanks all points was great but i appreciate if u could give some example too

  9. I agree with what you’ve written here and it’s definitely different to teaching in 20th Century. I use all of these methods and find flipped learning works really well with all age groups but needs to be introduced well. I’ve found that those who don’t do the flipped part definitely struggle, but they quickly start doing it, as they don’t like the feeling of being behind others in the group.

    Do you think there are new methodologies to consider when teaching in the era of this COVID pandemic? I teach languages and have a few COVID-19 friendly activities for language lessons that I hope might be useful to others here: https://theidealteacher.com/valuable-teacher-covid-19-friendly-activities-for-language-lessons – I hope it’s okay to share.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts. Thanks for the great content.

  10. Wonderful work. I will put them to work as a teacher

    • Ikwe, thank you for reading us and for your kind feedback!

  11. I found this information very helpful but how do I apply the methodologies in Asynchronous teaching?

  12. Thank you for these useful information. I hope it would be applicable in the 21st century.

  13. Very useful information. Thanks….

  14. This is wonderful! The information has really enhanced my knowledge and skills in as far as education and teaching is concerned.

  15. This is very useful for students and teachers everywhere, but more so for students in Africa who face certain obvious challenges as it concerns assessing these. thanks for them and i will always refer to them for improved teaching and learning.

    • Chris, thank you for reading us!
      We are glad that it has been useful to you.
      Best regards

  16. Great work. I hope my beautiful country India too will follow this type of methodological approach in real life than on papers. Thanks to all

    • Mohammed, thank you for reading us!
      We are glad that it has been useful to you.
      Best regards

  17. Please can I get notes on developmental method of teaching?

  18. thank you for the information given. such a big help for me.

    • Peter, thank you for reading us!
      We are glad that it has been useful to you.
      Best regards

  19. Thank you so much for your valuable information and your service

  20. I like the approaches very much. Thanks for the new discovery.

    I will be using those pedagogical methods in the class.

    • Hi Tandin,

      Thank you for reading us!
      We are glad that it has been useful to you.
      Best regards

  21. I like the approaches very much & the descriptive videos further elaborate each approach mentioned.
    Thanks for posting informative educational stuff. Keep it up!

  22. great! i really learnt a lot.
    i want to conduct an experimental research on the effect of blended learning and problem based learning strategies on students performance in financial accounting.

  23. I am simply impressed by the contents.

  24. it was good for teachers .I really enjoyed.thank you.

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