I’ve been thinking about deeper learning. (If you aren’t familiar with this terminology, deeper learning is a new term for a different approach to education, recently made the focus of the Hewlett Foundation’s education group.)
To me, deeper learning is not just about content or skills like critical thinking — it’s really about creating immersive learning experiences that students enjoy. Whether it’s being consumed in a good book or being absorbed in a science fair project, we’ve all had experiences that seem to cause events around us to stop moving as we take up some quest. That is deeper learning.
Deeper learning is, in part, deep engagement in a learning process that brings internal satisfaction.
What leads to this kind of experience? It’s different for each one of us (hence the need for differentiation). For some, a certain subject area inspires passion. For others, methodologies like project based learning spur it. Some become intensely engaged in arts or to sports. Finding that thing that ignites passion in individual learners is the quest of every good teacher. Ultimately, in life, it is our quest as humans.
Too many though, never find this passion. If we can achieve helping each student find some joy in learning, it will help them to know they can be successful in other pursuits and in life in general. And that, ultimately, is the goal of deeper learning.