Deeper Learning

Deeper learning refers to the understanding and use of complex content knowledge as it is applied to new contexts and situations. Curriculum, instruction, and assessment focused on deeper learning seek to support students’ development of skills—such as collaboration, communication, and creative problem solving—required by life in the 21st century.

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These instructional designs and new-model schools build on decades of research about how students learn best and the supports they need to succeed both academically and after high school. They take a systems approach to preparing students for our rapidly changing world, retooling everything from curriculum and assessments to the structure of the school day to the way teachers plan and collaborate.

Research shows that these student-centered schools focused on deeper learning are demonstrating stronger student achievement, graduation, college-going, and college success. These advances in outcomes are especially pronounced among low-income students, new immigrants, and students of color who have been historically underserved in U.S. schools.

The Learning Policy Institute explores three key components of deeper learning strategies:

Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment: Educators seeking to prepare their students for 21st century demands are designing curriculum to support deeper understanding of content by focusing on inquiry and real-world problem solving, rather than memorization of disconnected facts. They attend to the development of social-emotional skills—such as self-management, interpersonal skills, perseverance, a growth mind-set, and a sense of community responsibility—as well as academic abilities. Educators and policymakers are also retooling assessments to allow for more authentic demonstrations of students’ knowledge and skills.

College, Career, and Civic Participation: Students prepared for postsecondary education, the workplace, and active citizenship possess the skills and content knowledge, along with the habits and beliefs, researchers have found critical to academic and life success. Deeper learning schools engage in practices that encourage self-directed learning and provide internships that link schools to communities and workplaces to allow students other opportunities for career exploration.

School Organization and DesignStructures and practices in deeper learning schools are informed by decades of research underscoring the link between strong adult-student relationships, collaboration among teachers, and authentic academic work. Class schedules, staffing designs, relationships with parents and communities, and the nature of learning experiences are reconfigured to optimize learning.

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E.g., 08/09/2022
E.g., 08/09/2022