Deep learning: a case study amongst men and women of different cultures

Rachel Percy,  University of Reading, UK.

Abstract: This case study examines the factors that enable deep learning to take place. A total of fourteen development professionals (twelve men and two women) from countries spanning four continents were asked to think of something in their lives that they felt they had learned very well, whether within or outside the formal education sector. In individual recorded interviews participants reflected on the factors that helped them to learn the topic or skill so well. Recordings were transcribed and analysed with an aim to understand more about what factors contributed to deep learning and whether these varied greatly between peoples of different ages, gender, race and educational background. It was found that 'learning by doing' and 'motivation' were the major factors enabling deep learning, the former being a critical factor in all but one of the interviews and the latter being discussed in all but two. 'Listening' and 'observing' were important components of deep learning as were 'learning from mistakes' and 'seeking guidance'. The research provided some insight into the place of theory in relation to practice during the process of deep learning. It is concluded that  experiential learning enabled deep learning to take place and that this was true for interviewees of all ages, gender, cultural and educational backgrounds.

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