Significant Learning

Fink (2003) proposed a taxonomy of significant learning that reflects the aspects of learning commonly cites by advocates for deeper learning. According to Fink, significant learning comprises: 

  • Foundational knowledge which is the information that is transferred in the Standard Model of Education as well as broader concepts that help organized information; 
  • Application which finds learners using the foundational knowledge to solve (or at least attempt to solve) critical, creative, and practical problems; 
  • Integration of new information, concepts, skills, and other knowledge into the learners’ existing knowledge; 
  • Learning to learn as it is recognized that teachers cannot possibly transfer all of the information that learners need; 
  • Caring which comprises those “things” valued by the learner; 
  • Human dimensions which finds the learner understanding how their knowledge affects how they interact with people and society. 


Fink, L. D. (2003). Creating significant learning experiences. Josey-Bass.