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What is Deeper Learning?

"Deeper learning is an umbrella term for the skills and knowledge that students must possess to succeed in 21st century jobs and civic life. At its heart is a set of competencies students must master in order to develop a keen understanding of academic content and apply their knowledge to problems in the classroom and on the job."

From: Hewlett Foundation paper, April 2013

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Deep Learning is different in nature and scope than any other education innovation ever tried. It changes outcomes, in our case, the 6Cs of global competencies: character, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking; and it changes learning by focusing on personally and collectively meaningful matters, and by delving into them in a way that alters forever the roles of students, teachers, families and others."
From "Deep Learning Engage the World Change the World" by Michael Fullan, Joanne Quinn, and Joanne McEachen.

The Six Competencies
of Deeper Learning 


Critically evaluating information and arguments, seeing patterns and connections, construction meaningful knowledge and applying it in the real world.


Collaboration refers to the capacity to work interdependently and synergistically
in teams with strong interpersonal and team‐related skills including effective
management of team dynamics, making substantive decisions together, and
learning from and contributing to the learning of others.


Communication entails mastery of three fluencies: digital, writing, and speaking tailored for a range of audiences.


Thinking like global citizens, considering global issues based on a deep
understanding of diverse values with genuine interest in engaging with others to
solve complex problems that impact human and environmental sustainability


Having an ‘entrepreneurial eye’ for economic and social opportunities, asking the right questions to generate novel ideas, and demonstrating leadership to pursue those ideas into practice.


Character refers to qualities of the individual essential for being personally
effective in a complex world including: grit, tenacity, perseverance, resilience,
reliability, and honesty

Deeper Learning Practices


Project-Based Learning

Exploring meaningful problems


Work-based Learning


Connecting classroom to real-world


Blended Learning


Blending classroom instruction and technology


Inquiry-based Learning

Acquiring knowledge through questioning


Connected Learning


Making learning relevant to Students’ lives


Personalized Learning


Student-centered instruction

Surface vs Deeper Learning

Surface Learning
Deeper Learning

Student memorizes facts and details. 

Student relates content and topic to backgroound knowledge and experiences.

Student has little or no interaction with content.

Student thinks critically about arguments, concepts, and ideas. 

Student does not comprehend underlying argument; has little conceptual understanding.

Student creates solutions, makes new arguments, and achieves conceptual understanding.

Tasks are monotonous and a chore.

Tasks are rigorous and relevant.

External incentive is based on a test.

Motivation comes from within, from a desire to learn.

Goal is to recite/regurgitate information.

Goal is to achieve conceptual understanding.

From "Architects of Deeper Learning" by Lissa Pijanowsky

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