Deep learning is a complex process of permanent knowledge construction. It takes place when a learner faces an exciting problem or question that is processed in story format (Bain, 2004). This problem, question, or siftration referred to as input story, creates a cognitive conflict derived fr om social interaction with peers that the learner feels motivated to solve. To do so, the learner makes—non-arbitrary and substantive—connections between new knowledge arising from the input story (which must be within the learner’s zone of proximal development) and knowledge that the learner already has, which is also stored in story format and which is part of the learner’s cognitive structure (activated existing story). While making these connections individually and together with peers, the learner employs higher order cognitive and metacognitive skills, processes, and competences. If adequately and intrinsically motivated by the input story, the learner will change his or her cognitive structure so as to resolve the cognitive conflict. In so doing, the learner will incorporate the new knowledge into his or her cognitive structure, which will produce a conceptual change, that is, a new schema or the modification of an existing one, which will also be stored in story format. Tire learner will be able to use and apply this knowledge to new and unfamiliar situations and see the connections to a larger framework. At the same time, at the social level, this process implies one of the following changes: a reacculturation from one community of knowledge to another (Bruffee, 1999), or a movement fr om the periphery of an academic or professional community to its center, where the learner achieves foil participation by performing the roles and functions that experts (lawyers and criminal justice professionals in the legal and criminal justice fields) display in the community (Lave and Wenger, 1991). For deep leanring to occur, there must also be an ongoing evaluation and self-evaluation of the learning process and an awareness of this movement and the resulting conceptual change (Piaget, 1969)2.


Before breaking down the notion of deep learning into its main elements, let’s briefly analyze the concept of popular culture and its connection to the deep learning process. Strictly speaking, popular culture is not an element of the deep learning process, but it can gr eatly maximize it by permeating the whole process.

There is an important theoretical debate about the definition of popular culture. Most of this debate revolves around the distinction between popular culture and high culture. In most cases, popular culture is defined as whatever is left once you have defined high culture. In this sense, it is a residual category (Storey, 2001). With the advent of postmodernism, the boundaries between high and popular culture have binned (Jameson, 1991). Other definitions focus on the massive aspect of popular culture, whether it is the massive receptivity of popular culture texts and practices

-Piaget (1969) explained this process of conceptual change by means of the assimilation and accommodation principles. Individuals receive continuous stimuli from the environment, which causes disequilibrium. Individuals will assimilate that stimulus and incorporate it into their previously existing cognitive structures. This process, known as assimilation, is subjective, because human beings tend to modify experience or information to fit it in with pre-existing beliefs. But continuous stimuli from the environment cause disequilibrium, as the cognitive structures that individuals use to respond to these stimuli are not usefill any more. Thus, there is an adaptation process, that is, the individual tries to assimilate the mput story to the existing cognitive structures that he or she has and accommodates such structures to the new situations. Accommodation involves altering existing schemas, or ideas, as a result of new information or new experiences. New schemas may also be developed during tins process (Sanjurjo and Vera, 1994).

among the general public (Bennett, 1980) or the massive production of these texts (Ross, 1989). Other notions of popular culture emphasize the political aspects of this concept. They define it as a terrain of exchange and negotiation between the ruling class and the working class (Gramsci, 2000). Another line of theorists conceive of popular culture as “an empty conceptual category, one which can be filled in a wide variety of often conflicting ways, depending on the context of use” (Storey, 2001).

Without ignoring the political aspects of the notion of popular culture, I adopt Storey’s conception and fill that void with all cultural texts (and practices), whether their production is artisanal or large-scale. In this sense, it includes films (features, documentaries, shorts, and home videos uploaded to online sites), TV shows (comedies, dramas, reality shows, talk shows, and news programs), theater plays, books, magazines, newspapers, songs, commercials, radio shows, video games, applications, and pictures, among many other cultural texts.

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