Deeper Learning: What is it and why is it so effective?

Hwang, Naomi


Briggs, S. (2015, March 7). Deeper learning: What is it and why is it so effective? Retrieved June 13, 2019, from informED website:

Summary: In this article, Briggs discusses a couple of definitions of deeper learning, and argues that deeper learning is what educators have always been striving for. However, the saying “easier said than done” applies. While most educators want to use deep learning strategies, their efforts have been hindered by the need to prepare students for important assessments and a lack of time to plan and teach curriculum. A number of deeper learning strategies are mentioned and discussed throughout the article, sometimes supplemented by the results of research studies. Examples of these include changing the format of assessments to promote higher level thinking and having students work in groups. In the end, Briggs suggests that deep learning needs to be a priority not only at a classroom or school-wide level, but also the local, state, and national levels for it to become the norm.

Evaluation: I felt that this medium-length article was a good introduction into the idea of deeper learning. While Briggs did not go into detail for all of the strategies she mentioned, she gave good examples and explanations for the ones that were more complex. I especially appreciated her perspective and reflection on why deeper learning has been a struggle to implement despite being “an old dog by a new name”.

6 Powerful strategies for deeper learning in your classroom

Schindler, Christine


Martinez, M.R. (2019). 6 Powerful strategies for deeper learning in your classroom. (Teacher Thought) Retrieved from

Summary: The article is an introduction to Dr. Monica Martinez’s book “Deeper Learning: How Eight Innovative Public Schools are Transforming Education in the Twentieth-First Century”. Dr. Martinez argues that the traditional method schools are teaching middle school and high school students-through rote memorization in a structured environment- is not the path to developing critically thinking, engaged students with excellent communication skills. The way forward is through self-directed learning using six identified teaching strategies.

  1. Connect: Create a community of learners
  2. Empower: Activate students to lead their own learning
  3. Contextualize: Use human themes
  4. Reach: Network beyond school walls
  5. Inspire: Personalize the learning
  6. Wire: Make Technology the servant, not the master

Evaluation: While the article is brief, the strategies as presented, are clear & concise in direction and format.

Student Agency for Powerful Learning

Dilworth, Marianne


Williams, P. (2017). Student agency for powerful learning. Knowledge Quest, 45(4), 8-15. Retrieved from

In his article “Student Agency for Powerful Learning,” Williams defines student agency, and then explores how school librarians are uniquely qualified to nurture this attribute in students. Williams states that students develop agency when they have a strong sense of personal integrity and efficacy. When students demonstrate respect for themselves and others, and feel empowered to act, they are more likely to take responsibility for their learning. Fostering student agency requires a pedagogical power shift away from traditional models of education.

Williams offers some practical suggestions for school librarians to lead the way. These suggestions include encouraging recreational reading, and collaborating with students on library design. To develop student voice, students can create books or artwork that become part of the library’s collection. Having students then cite their own work gives them a sense of ownership and identity as a creator. Williams argues that using these strategies to establish a collaborative, student-centered learning environment will help students ultimately become successful agents of their learning.

I found this article to be an interesting and engaging overview of the concept of student agency. A school community that aspires to build a learning commons, must first have a strong program that builds student agency. I like that Williams makes the clear distinction that encouraging student agency does not mean that he is advocating for an anything goes educational model. Instead, he states that structures and guides must be put into place that allow student creativity and voice to flourish.

Harvard’s Project Zero

Galang, Johnny


Harvard Graduate School of Education (2018). Homepage. Retrieved from

Project Zero is a comprehensive website with many resources for curriculum development, assessment, and a wealth of other topics. There are free tools and education around topics such as essential questions, deep learning, and developing a culture of thinking.

It may be overwhelming to someone who is new to educational theory, but can provide useful tools to push your practice further.

Deep Education

Matsuo, Kim

ET-Deeper Learning

TEDx Talks]. (2015, May 21). Deep Education: Re-visioning teaching and learning for today [Video file]. Retrieved from

Paul Freedman discusses whether mainstream schools are educating students to their fullest potential. So much focus is on assessing students that passion for learning is null. Criticizes Common Core Standards.

An excellent resource for those who are better audible and visual learners. For a novice, I think Freedman discusses education in an easy-to-understand way without watering down the message of the importance of educating students holistically instead of focusing on assessments.

Deeper Learning, Inquiry and the Teacher Librarian

Amanda Rude


Loertscher, D. V. (2016). Deeper learning, inquiry, and the teacher librarianRetrieved from
This article proposes two new ideas for inquiry. First, a framework for teachers to self-check for areas of proficiency and deficiency according to the  Digital Promise organization’s website.  Deficiencies are then to be addressed through Micro Credentials.  Secondly the article discusses how  teacher’s and students can utilize a learning commons to deepen their own learning.  An example is provided along with the UTEC maker model.

Project Based Learning + Technology = Deeper Learning

Project Based Learning + Technology = Deeper Learning

This article was a blog post by Bob Lenz & Sally Kingston on the P21 Partnership for 21st Century Learning website. The post is about the benefits of integrating project based learning with technology to make learning meaningful, relevant, and rigorous resulting in deeper learning. The benefits of deeper learning, which is the goal, include academic achievement, critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, self-directed learning and an academic mindset. Technology can increase student engagements and motivation and so can project based learning. Kids love creating projects and they love technology. If these two are combined and done well you will have deeper learning which is the ultimate goal!