4D Framework

The Center for Curriculum Redesign’s 4D, or 4-Dimensional, Framework is so named because we believe today’s students must develop in four dimensions – Knowledge, Skills, Character, and Meta-Learning – to serve themselves and society to the most fulfilling extent possible.

Of the four dimensions, traditional education pays the most attention to Knowledge, with content like mathematics, reading, and writing. But with a world of information at your fingertips, Knowledge is no longer enough. And although attention is being paid to Skills and Character, teaching any dimension in isolation limits its value.

However, when teachers dynamically infuse Skills, Character, and Meta-Learning into a modernized approach for Knowledge instruction (through CCR’s 12 4D Competencies and 60 Subcompetencies), learners are better able to transfer what they’ve learned to new contexts and to apply those principles outside that discipline. That is the goal of a 4D Education: a whole learner for a whole world.

Venn diagram of the 4D Education Framework with three interlocking circles, labeled knowledge, which is what we know and understand, skills, which is how we use what we know, and character, which is how we behave and engage in the world. Below the circles is meta-learning, which is how we reflect and adapt.




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