Domain-Specific Knowledge: 1, Domain-Independent Skills: 0

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Mirjam Neelen & Paul A. Kirschner

In both the workplace and education, there’s a lot of talk about so-called ‘domain-independent skills’, also called ‘generic’ or ‘transferable’ skills. In general, the perceived need for those skills is based on the premise that we currently live in a knowledge-based new economy, and the associated pressures for lifelong learning as well as the maintenance of employability that come with that require something different than ‘simple knowledge’.  More specifically, in the context of the workplace, the idea is that organisations change so fast and are so complex that it’s no longer feasible to know what kind of domain-specific knowledge and skills people need (they’ll be outdated as soon as you’ve learned them, is the idea) and therefore, it’s better to focus on more generic skills so that people are more flexible and can more easily adapt to change. put it forward as follows

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