Deep Learning…what does it REALLY mean?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what Deep Learning really means? Is it “less”, but “more”? Is it more complex, more work, and difficult? Does technology assist in this? Is deeper learning only for a select group of students, or is it for everyone? What does it look like in the classroom?
How do we create a community of people who truly understand what deep learning really is?

For me, I’ve been grappling with all of these ideas, asking a lot of questions, and trying to gather information about the topic. As our school community begins to look at this topic, do we really understand it? Can everyone articulate what it means? I’m still getting there.

A Rich Seam How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning

A Rich Seam
How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning

One resource that I came across, was focused on the use of technology and how the effective integration of it, allows for deeper meaning and understanding from our learners. For years, I’ve been talking about the difference between consuming information (knowledge acquisition) an creating content to share with the world. Applying what they’ve learned in new ways.

~One way that deep learning can occur is through the intentional use of technology in the classroom along with the change/shift in pedagogy from the facilitator.~ According to Michael Fullan and Maria Langworthy,

“the explicit aim is deep learning that goes beyond the mastery of existing content knowledge. Here, deep learning is defined as ‘creating and using new knowledge in the world.’ “

Deep learning tasks are those that re-structure the learning process towards knowledge creation and purposeful use.

Deeper Learning for All is a resource that had me nodding my head YES to as I was reading…it confirmed what MY ideas about Deep Learning are! Mastering core academic content and being able to think critically to solve complex problems. Working collaboratively to learn how to communicate effectively while developing an academic mindset. All of these competencies help us understand what it means…but how to we accomplish these things?

Personalized Learning- LEARN

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Project Based Learning-DO

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Work Based Learning-APPLY

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Competency Based Learning- SHOW

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As I’ve been thinking about what all of this means, and what it looks like in particular, it’s affirming to know that we ARE doing these things, and doing them WELL. Finding intentionality in how we do things will lead us to an understanding of what deeper learning really is.


Learner, Thinker, Writer: Marsha Harris serves the Trinity School community as the Director of Curriculum.

One thought on “Deep Learning…what does it REALLY mean?

  1. Marsha, I love the images in this post! I also totally agree with your last statement, ” Finding intentionality in how we do things will lead us to an understanding of what deeper learning really is.” It is easy to do many things well and lose sight of the reason we do what we do. Thanks for helping me deepen my own learning.

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