What is deep learning?

One of the great challenges of education is to provide knowledge that lasts over time. However, we do not always learn in the same way or with the same objective: sometimes we learn to repeat and sometimes to achieve an achievement. These two types of learning do not remain for a long time. But how can we get a knowledge that we remember for a long time? In today’s post we tell you what deep learning consists of, what features it has, what advantages it brings and how it is used in the classroom.

What is deep learning?

Learning does not only mean acquiring knowledge to reproduce it or to perform a certain procedure. When we talk about deep learning we refer to the use of knowledge that is acquired to solve problems. Learning in a deep way means relating what we learn with the knowledge we already have. For this, it is necessary to teach students to relate the knowledge they already possess with new ones and with their own experiences.
Therefore, deep learning can be defined as a strategy to give meaning to new information with the aim that the knowledge that has been acquired can be used to solve problems in the future.

What are the characteristics of deep learning?

Based on the definition we have seen in the previous section, we can determine the following characteristics of deep learning:

  • Relate information. When students learn to relate the knowledge they have of one or more disciplines, they remember them more easily and this helps them to stay longer in the mind.
  • Boost motivation. With deep learning you not only learn to achieve a goal (pass a subject, for example), but also to understand the life around us and motivate the thirst for knowledge.
  • Change the figure of the teacher from transmitter to facilitator. Traditionally, the teacher has had the figure of transmitter of information, but with deep learning he assumes the role of facilitator of knowledge and promoter of student motivation.
  • It connects with information that is already known. With deep learning, a connection is created between the information that is already known, the new and the experiences of each student, so the range of knowledge opens up to new possibilities.
  • Methodologies that promote collaboration and critical thinking are promoted. The methodologies used in deep learning favor collaboration among students, promote the existence of critical thinking and values such as equality.

However, we cannot think that deep learning is an alternative to superficial learning, but that to achieve deep learning it is necessary that there is some basic knowledge.

How is deep learning used in the classroom?

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En el aula se pueden utilizar diversos elementos que faciliten el aprendizaje profundo. Te proponemos varias ideas:
1. Mapas mentales. Los mapas mentales se pueden utilizar en multitud de disciplinas o para relacionar disciplinas entre sí. Los conocimientos se presentan de forma visual y se relacionan entre sí con imágenes, símbolos o palabras. Cada alumno o alumna puede hacer su propio mapa mental para consolidar su conocimiento. Se pueden elaborar en papel o utilizar las nuevas tecnologías para hacerlos digitalmente.
2. Tablas KLR. KLR son las siglas de know (lo que ya sé), learned (lo que aprendo) y relate (cómo se relaciona lo que sé y lo que aprendo). Con estas tablas el alumno o alumna puede ver fácilmente cómo se relaciona y extiende su conocimiento y cómo los datos que ya tiene son la base de lo que puede aprender en el futuro, lo que fomenta su motivación.
3. Diagramas de espina de pescado. Este diagrama es una técnica que se utiliza tanto en el aprendizaje profundo en la escuela como a nivel empresarial, por ejemplo, para realizar una lluvia de ideas y encontrar las causas de un problema mediante una representación visual de causa y efecto. El problema se establece en la cabeza del pez y las posibles causas en cada espina que sale de la central.
4. Chains of cause and effect. There are many options for using cause and effect strings. For example, you can give an example by putting a glass of water in winter on the street. If it is very cold, the water will freeze. Students can then be asked to create cause-and-effect chains in relation to the cold. Depending on the age of the boys and girls, the game can be complicated.
5. Discussions and questions. In the classroom there are many ways to promote deep learning and one of them is to generate debates and solve problems or questions that are raised with questions. The idea is that the teacher encourages debate with concrete and direct questions and that favors the critical thinking of students, so that they can question things and substantiate their ideas.
6. Combine learning. As we have seen, the types of learning can be combined, for example, through reading. Students can be asked to read several documents and asked to relate what they have read. In this way they will be able to combine superficial learning (data collection) with deep learning (relationship between various information).
7. Problem and solution. Another good option is to pose a situation (without defining the specific problem) and let students deduce the problem and, in groups, provide informed solutions.

The key is to analyze the results of each technique and see what works best at a given time. It is also essential to study each student to detect areas of improvement or skills that must be enhanced.

In short, learning is a journey that has many facets and the important thing is to have a base to expand it and encourage the curiosity of students to discover and explore on their own throughout their lives.

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