The 4D Model

The Center for Curriculum Redesign (CCR) is a Boston-based non-profit, international education research and engineering organization committed to defining 21st Century curriculum for students in K-12 and Higher Education. CCR delivers deeply researched, carefully curated frameworks, recommendations and structures for standards, curricula and assessments. It focuses on the knowledge and competencies (aka “social-emotional learning”, “21st century skills”), that students need to succeed in a global world of life and work.

CCR has developed a globally-relevant “Four-Dimensional” framework that is comprehensive yet compact, and designed to be eminently actionable and demonstrable.

As the world of the 21st century bears little resemblance to that of the 19th century, education curricula need to be deeply redesigned for the four dimensions of Knowledge, Skills, Character and Meta-Learning. The CCR brings together non-governmental organizations, jurisdictions, academic institutions, corporations, and non-profit organizations in developing this work.


4D CS deliberately balances practice and theory, and provides a profound knowledge base that avoids hype and misunderstandings:

Coding is necessary but not sufficient for Computer Science – it is like calculating in Math, the two are not identical.  And coding-only jobs are the easiest to outsource and automate.  The diagram below shows the difference between Coding and Computer Science:

The 4D CS extensive Knowledge base covers all of the following modern application domains:

    • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning
    • Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality
    • App development
    • Cybersecurity/Blockchain
    • Gaming
    • Digital Humanities & Arts


But occupations  require more than just knowledge. The graph below presents the other competencies needed in today’s and tomorrow’s marketplace:


  • Some learners may gravitate to computer science jobs; the vast majority will use CS as they use math or writing – an everyday occurrence in their more advanced professions.
  • Advanced professions will be enabled by coding capabilities, but coding-only is not a sustainable long-term differential advantage (due to outsourcing and automation).

“Teaching students data management and analysis skills is at least as important as teaching them coding skills… The ubiquity of data is behind the emergence of new “hybrid” jobs.” (“Coding necessary not sufficient”: Oracle Academy)

    A Focus On Recruitment & Retention:

    In our pilot program, we
    recruited 40% of the yearly cohort in an optional offering. We achieved 66% retention in our very first year. The typical retention in CS “coding mills” or Bachelor degrees is 20% or lower.  To achieve these goals, we:

    • carefully crafted the ramp-up in complexity, as forcing too much complexity upfront discourages students (coding can be made a drudgery, as Maths is sometimes perceived)
    • Covered a variety of topics interesting to all usages
    • Supported each student’s interested personally