Cultivating Deeper Learning – A Recipe for an Authentic Education

The concept of deeper learning has been steadily gaining momentum worldwide and was recently the focus of discussion at the Deeper Learning UK Conference 2023, which I was fortunate enough to attend. Nobody, of course, would advocate for an education system predicated on shallow learning. So why is deeper learning becoming such a phenomenon? Its strength lies in its ability to alert us to the shortcomings of existing approaches to learning, most of which merely scratch the surface of what young people need to thrive in a complex world.

At its core, deeper learning is about developing curiosity, creativity, resilience and the ability to collaborate, alongside knowledge and understanding. It transcends the confines of the classroom. It invites students to see the relevance of education to their lives, interests, and aspirations, fostering a sense of purpose and meaning. Just as a healthy five-a-day diet nourishes the body, deeper learning helps nourish students’ minds. And while, like any signature dish, its ingredients can be varied, these five core ingredients remain key.

1. Competences – applying the fruit of knowledge to the real world

2. Curiosity – fostering new pedagogies

3. Process – nurturing authenticity through iteration

4. Group working – the power of collaboration

5. Strength-based assessment – embracing multimodal evidencing

Bringing together the core ingredients of deeper learning into our educational systems will lead to a more meaningful and authentic experience for students, equipping them with the skills, knowledge, and passion they need to thrive in the world beyond the classroom. While debates continue, the future is heading this way. Deeper learning is as essential for the mind’s well-being as a balanced diet is for the body’s health. And only through deeper learning can we help students truly succeed in challenging times.


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