4D Competencies

Infusing Knowledge instruction with Skills, Character, and Meta-Learning is the core principle of a 4D Education. But how is that done? By breaking these three dimensions into Competencies and then further into Subcompetencies, instructors have the details to make their lessons more effective, focused, logical, and relevant.

The 4D Competencies and Subcompetencies (+) are:



How we use what we know


including related ideas such as            

imaginativeness | imagination | ingenuity

CRE1: Generating and seeking new ideas
CRE2: Developing personal tastes and aesthetics
CRE3: Being comfortable with risks, uncertainty, and failure
CRE4: Connecting, reorganizing, and refining ideas into a cohesive whole
CRE5: Realizing ideas while recognizing constraints
CRE6: Reflecting on processes and outcomes

Critical Thinking

including related ideas such as              

problem-solving | analysis | reasoning         

CRI1: Identifying, clarifying, and organizing information
CRI2: Considering other points of view
CRI3: Applying sound reasoning to decision-making
CRI4: Assessing validity and quality of information
CRI5: Reflecting critically on one’s own reasoning and assumptions


including related ideas such as            

dialogue | listening | speaking          

COM1: Asking questions and actively listening
COM2: Clearly and concisely articulating ideas or messages
COM3: Using and understanding nonverbal and paralingual communication
COM4: Communicating via multiple modes (digitally, orally, etc.)
COM5: Empathizing with audiences and adapting messages accordingly


including related ideas such as            

cooperation | teamwork | group cohesion       

COL1: Taking and sharing responsibility with others
COL2: Utilizing each individual’s unique skills and perspectives
COL3: Navigating and resolving interpersonal conflict
COL4: Giving and receiving constructive feedback
COL5: Empathizing with and actively supporting team members


How we behave and engage in the world


 including related ideas such as               

self-awareness | presence | self-management             


MIN1: Attending to one’s body, emotions, and reactions in the present moment
MIN2: Understanding by describing one’s emotions and reactions
MIN3: Building effective habits for regulation of inner experience
MIN4: Cultivating positivity, open-mindedness, patience and compassion


including related ideas such as                

open-mindedness | wonder | exploration          


CUR1: Seeking to understand deeply
CUR2: Seeking out novelty and trying new things
CUR3: Seeking different perspectives to broaden understanding
CUR4: Actively pursuing one’s own interests and passions


including related ideas such as              

bravery | confidence | risk-taking          


COU1: Pursuing ambitious goals despite social, financial, physical, or emotional risk to self
COU2: Standing up for one’s values
COU3: Engaging with others in a vulnerable way


including related ideas such as               

perseverance | grit | persistence           


RES1: Adapting flexibly
RES2: Building strong social networks
RES3: Managing stress and expressing emotions appropriately
RES4: Orienting to a meaning or purpose
RES5: Persevering through challenges but seeking help when needed


including related ideas such as            

integrity | fairness | virtue          


ETH1: Identifying and describing ethical concepts
ETH2: Making ethical decisions and taking ethical actions
ETH3: Understanding the ethical perspectives of others
ETH4: Understanding and assessing values, (civil) rights, and responsibilities


including related ideas such as           

responsibility | accountability | decision-making        


LEA1: Determining challenges and setting goals
LEA2: Managing power ethically
LEA3: Thinking strategically to best utilize resources (people and material)
LEA4: Evaluating team outcomes and adapting accordingly
LEA5: Respectfully collaborating with others
LEA6: Contributing to the broader group or community
LEA7: Sharing one’s vision and inspiring others


How we reflect, adapt, and learn how to learn


including related ideas such as               

thinking about thinking | self-reflection          


MET1: Reflecting on processes, achievements, learning, and/or identity
MET2: Determining goals, plans to achieve those goals, and monitoring one’s progress
MET3: Monitoring comprehension and managing information accordingly
MET4: Evaluating one’s actions and their consequences
MET5: Considering alternatives and different perspectives
MET6: Practicing awareness and regulation of internal state
MET7: Thinking and adapting flexibly

Growth Mindset

including related ideas such as              

self-efficacy | productive failure         


GRO1: Believing in one’s agency and having high self-efficacy
GRO2: Learning from mistakes and welcoming feedback as a chance to grow
GRO3: Persevering for deeper expertise and understanding
GRO4: Understanding one’s current strengths and weaknesses
GRO5: Finding joy in learning and becoming a lifelong learner

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