We talk a lot these days about the ubiquity of content and the pressing need for skill development in learners. If you don't listen closely or critically, it would be easy to come away believing that content doesn't really matter anymore--as long as we know how to access it.
But it’s good to know things and it’s even better to know how to use those things productively and creatively. First of all, it feels good to know: we all feel more powerful, more enriched, more alive and more engaged when we know things. Often, we become even more curious. And as we acquire content knowledge, we are likely to be more fluent, more facile and more creative. Content is essential to constructing knowledge, which I think of as the place where skills and content come together; where we make meaning out of both in ways that are creative, innovative and useful.
So, that means content matters. And that’s why “deeper learning” is a term that matters. It describes a student-driven and teacher-facilitated process where content and skills are developed and applied in learning experiences that “stick”. Deeper Learning: Beyond 21st Century Skills does a particularly good job of breaking down what deeper learning is:
Most important, deeper learning recognizes that 1) learning is not linear and that 2) complex, open ended challenges can be the entry points to skill development and content mastery for engaged learners. Knowledge is built when content is integrated, understood and applied in learning; whereas rote memorization without a deeper experience to integrate it is soon forgotten.
Interested in transforming learning in your school? Take some time to learn more about “Deeper Learning” and then explore the many schools in the Deeper Learning eco-system. It’s “edu-speak” that’s worth unpacking!