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The elements that make up this approach are not necessarily new — great teachers have been employing these tactics for years. But now there’s a movement to codify the different pieces that define the deeper learning approach, and to spread the knowledge from teacher to teacher, school to school in the form of a Deeper Learning MOOC (massive open online course), organized by a group of schools, non-profits, and sponsored by the Hewlett Foundation.
So what defines deeper learning? This group has identified six competencies: mastering content, critical thinking, effective written and oral communication, collaboration, learning how to learn, and developing academic mindsets.
“Before we assess, we need to know what we are assessing for,” said Marc Chun, program officer at the Hewlett Foundation. What does effective collaboration look like? What does it really look like to be a critical thinker? These skill are more oriented towards process than content, making them difficult to assess in a standardized way.
Thus, the old pre-reqs are out: GPAs, transcripts, SATS. In fact, Google is beginning to disregard academic educations altogether: they're just not a good predictor of success at the company. Says Bock, "After two or three years, your ability to perform at Google is completely unrelated to how you performed when you were in school, because the skills you required in college are very different. You’re also fundamentally a different person. You learn and grow, you think about things differently."
According to the Times, Google is putting its money where its mouth is: they've actually increased their hires with no college education—14% of some of its teams have never been to school, according to Bock.
Instead, the emphasis is on hiring candidates who are leaders, and work well in teams. The only way to discover this, says Bock, is through "structured" behavior interviews that assess how a person makes decisions. The winning interviewees will be able to demonstrate that they are "consistent and fair in how [they] think about making decisions and that there’s an element of predictability." This is key to building trust among team members once hired, he explains. "If a leader is consistent, people on their teams experience tremendous freedom, because then they know that within certain parameters, they can do whatever they want. If your manager is all over the place, you’re never going to know what you can do, and you’re going to experience it as very restrictive."