Educators are working to institute "deeper learning" practices in K-12 education in response to new desirable skillsets in both postsecondary education and future employment, according to District Administration.
The practice has flourished in K-12 education since the creation of the Deeper Learning Network by the Hewlett Foundation in 2011, which started as a collaboration between 10 education organizations. Advocates want schools to focus on helping students master rigorous academic content, as well as develop critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills, among other attributes.
Advocates say it is vital for educators to collaborate on best practices in regard to deeper learning, cautioning that it would be very difficult for teachers to design such an approach for a school and simultaneously consider their own professional development
The concept of deeper learning expands upon the push to incorporate social-emotional learning throughout K-12 curriculums. Both concepts posit that for students to have success in postsecondary education and afterwards, skills must be harnessed beyond academic acumen. Specifically, both "deeper learning" and SEL focus on interpersonal development not only for its own merits, but also for its essentiality in student’s professional future.
A recent report revealed that SEL skills “are critically important to success in work, especially for higher paying jobs, and employers strongly advocate that education should promote these important ‘21st century skills.’” The study found SEL offered a ROI of $11 for every $1 spent. Deeper learning stands to promote the skills most needed by current employers, and a Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education report found that by 2000, Fortune 500 companies valued teamwork, problem solving and interpersonal skills above the conventionally academic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic.