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Deep Learning

Eileen Hulme

Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161251.2009.x


Deep learning describes an approach to learning that is characterized by active engagement, intrinsic motivation, and a personal search for meaning. Deep learners actively seek a significant conceptual understanding by connecting new concepts with previously held knowledge. They rigorously evaluate evidence, examine logic, and critically analyze hypotheses and conclusions. Conversely, surface learning is a more passive process involving the memorization of seemingly unrelated bits of information. Surface learners are motivated by the meeting of minimum requirements and the completion of tasks. Swedish researchers Marton and Saljo used the terms deep and surface levels of processing to describe the differences in the way students understand a text. They later amended their terminology from levels of processing to approaches to learning in order to indicate not only the process of learning, but also the intention. In their earliest studies of approaches to learning, Marton and Saljo found that students utilizing a deep level of processing focus on what is significant within a text, i.e., they are interested in discovering what the author intended to say. Students who use surface level processing, on the other hand, learn the text itself and employ a rote learning strategy. Their emphasis is on reproducing the text rather than understanding the essence of the text. In addition ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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