How do you define Learning and what enables you to make meaning of new knowledge?

Jessica Arbitman, Peer-Led Team Learning Assistant Coordinator


Learning is the process by which an individual acquires knowledge. However, learning and knowledge can take on many forms.  Learning might look like reading a book and storing facts in your memory bank to utilize later, but it may also look like rolling dough for the first time, or playing a chord on the guitar for the first time—keep in mind that these are just a few examples! Therefore, knowledge can be defined as not only the gain of factual/textual information obtained from reading a text, but also mastery of a skill by means of practice. It hence follows that making meaning of new knowledge can take on many forms as well.

As a chemistry major, the process of learning often entailed a lot of problem-solving to ensure that I can solve numerical problems. To make meaning of the knowledge, I was to be able to apply the underlying concepts in a lab. Similarly, for a student studying rhetoric, he or she might first learn rhetorical devices and then make meaning of them by employing them in their rhetorical analyses. All in all, being able to apply what you’ve learned to something in real life is one way to make meaning of knowledge. However, there is no correct way to learn and no correct way to make meaning of knowledge. It’s something that is unique to every learner and it’s something that every learner discovers through the process of learning.

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