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new learning essay

How to Write Stanford’s “Excited About Learning” Essay

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Johnathan Patin-Sauls and Vinay Bhaskara in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.

What’s Covered:

Choosing an idea vs. an experience, learning for the sake of learning, learning as a means to other ends, be specific.

Stanford University’s first essay prompt asks you to respond to the following:

“ The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning. (100-250 words)”

For this short answer question, your response is limited to a maximum of 250 words. In this article, we will discuss considerations for choosing to write about an idea or experience, ways to demonstrate a love or enthusiasm for learning, and why you should be as specific. For more information and guidance on writing the application essays for Stanford University, check out our post on how to write the Stanford University essays .

Regardless of if you choose either an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning as a topic, there are a few considerations for each.  

Most people gravitate towards writing about an idea. One challenge that arises with an idea-focused essay is that applicants who are passionate about an idea often become hyper focused on explaining the idea but neglect to connect this idea to who they are as a person and why this idea excites them. 

When writing about an experience, it is important to strike a balance between describing the experience and analyzing the impact of the experience on you, your goals, and your commitment to learning.

This essay question allows you to expand on your joy for learning and your genuine curiosity. Stanford is searching for students who are naturally curious and enjoy the process of learning and educating themselves. For example, a compelling essay could begin with a riveting story of getting lost while hiking the Appalachian Trail and describing how this experience led to a lifelong passion for studying primitive forms of navigation. 

There is a strong tendency among applicants to write about formal academic coursework, however, the most compelling essays will subvert expectations by taking the concept of learning beyond the classroom and demonstrating how learning manifests itself in unique contexts in your life.

If you’re someone for whom learning is a means to other ends, it is important that you convey a sense of genuine enthusiasm and purpose beyond, “I want to go to X school because it will help me get Y job for Z purpose.” You may be motivated to attend college to obtain a certain position and make a comfortable income, however these answers are not necessarily what admissions officers are looking for. Instead, it can be helpful to relate an idea or experience to something more personal to you.

Academic & Professional Trajectory

Consider relating the idea or experience you choose to a major, degree program, research initiative, or professor that interests you at Stanford. Then go beyond the academic context to explain how the idea or experience ties into your future career. 

For instance, if you are interested in the concept of universal health care, then you might describe your interest in applying to public health programs with faculty that specialize in national health care systems. You might then describe your long term career aspirations to work in the United States Senate on crafting and passing health care policy.

Personal Values & Experiences

Another way to tie the ideas in this essay back to a more personal topic is to discuss how the idea or experience informs who you are, how you treat others, or how you experience the world around you. 

You could also focus on an idea or experience that has challenged, frustrated, or even offended you, thereby reinforcing and further justifying the values you hold and your worldview.

Community Building & Social Connectedness

You may also explore how this idea or experience connects you to a particular community by helping you understand, build, and support members of the community. Stanford is looking to find students who will be engaged members of the student body and carry out the community’s core mission, values, and projects, so this essay can be an opportunity to highlight how you would contribute to Stanford. 

Be specific in your choice of idea or the way in which you describe an experience. For example, a response that focuses on the joys of learning philosophy is too broad to be particularly memorable or impactful. However, the mind-body problem looking at the debate concerning the relationship between thought and consciousness is a specific philosophical idea that lends itself to a rich discussion. 

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new learning essay

What Is Learning? Essay about Learning Importance

What Is learning? 👨‍🎓️ Why is learning important? Find the answers here! 🔤 This essay on learning describes its outcomes and importance in one’s life.


  • The Key Concepts

Learning is a continuous process that involves the transformation of information and experience into abilities and knowledge. Learning, according to me, is a two way process that involves the learner and the educator leading to knowledge acquisition as well as capability.

It informs my educational sector by making sure that both the students and the teacher participate during the learning process to make it more real and enjoyable so that the learners can clearly understand. There are many and different learning concepts held by students and ways in which the different views affect teaching and learning.

What Is Learning? The Key Concepts

One of the learning concept held by students is, presentation of learning material that is precise. This means that any material that is meant for learning should be very clear put in a language that the learners comprehend (Blackman & Benson 2003). The material should also be detailed with many examples that are relevant to the prior knowledge of the learner.

This means that the learner must have pertinent prior knowledge. This can be obtained by the teacher explaining new ideas and words that are to be encountered in a certain field or topic that might take more consecutive lessons. Different examples assist the students in approaching ideas in many perspectives.

The learner is able to get similarities from the many examples given thus leading to a better understanding of a concept since the ideas are related and linked.

Secondly, new meanings should be incorporated into the students’ prior knowledge, instead of remembering only the definitions or procedures. Therefore, to promote expressive learning, instructional methods that relate new information to the learner’s prior knowledge should be used.

Moreover, significant learning involves the use of evaluation methods that inspire learners to relate their existing knowledge with new ideas. For the students to comprehend complex ideas, they must be combined with the simple ideas they know.

Teaching becomes very easy when a lesson starts with simple concepts that the students are familiar with. The students should start by understanding what they know so that they can use the ideas in comprehending complex concepts. This makes learning smooth and easy for both the learner and the educator (Chermak& Weiss 1999).

Thirdly, acquisition of the basic concepts is very essential for the student to understand the threshold concepts. This is because; the basic concepts act as a foundation in learning a certain topic or procedure. So, the basic concepts must be comprehended first before proceeding to the incorporation of the threshold concepts.

This makes the student to have a clear understanding of each stage due to the possession of initial knowledge (Felder &Brent 1996). A deeper foundation of the study may also be achieved through getting the differences between various concepts clearly and by knowing the necessary as well as the unnecessary aspects. Basic concepts are normally taught in the lower classes of each level.

They include defining terms in each discipline. These terms aid in teaching in all the levels because they act as a foundation. The stage of acquiring the basics determines the students’ success in the rest of their studies.

This is because lack of basics leads to failure since the students can not understand the rest of the context in that discipline, which depends mostly on the basics. For learning to become effective to the students, the basics must be well understood as well as their applications.

Learning by use of models to explain certain procedures or ideas in a certain discipline is also another learning concept held by students. Models are helpful in explaining complex procedures and they assist the students in understanding better (Blackman & Benson 2003).

For instance, in economics, there are many models that are used by the students so that they can comprehend the essential interrelationships in that discipline. A model known as comparative static is used by the students who do economics to understand how equilibrium is used in economic reason as well as the forces that bring back equilibrium after it has been moved.

The students must know the importance of using such kind of models, the main aspect in the model and its relationship with the visual representation. A model is one of the important devices that must be used by a learner to acquire knowledge. They are mainly presented in a diagram form using symbols or arrows.

It simplifies teaching especially to the slow learners who get the concept slowly but clearly. It is the easiest and most effective method of learning complex procedures or directions. Most models are in form of flowcharts.

Learners should get used to learning incomplete ideas so that they can make more complete ideas available to them and enjoy going ahead. This is because, in the process of acquiring the threshold concepts, the prior knowledge acquired previously might be transformed.

So, the students must be ready to admit that every stage in the learning process they get an understanding that is temporary. This problem intensifies when the understanding of an idea acquired currently changes the understanding of an idea that had been taught previously.

This leads to confusion that can make the weak students lose hope. That is why the teacher should always state clear similarities as well as differences of various concepts. On the other hand, the student should be able to compare different concepts and stating their similarities as well as differences (Watkins & Regmy 1992).

The student should also be careful when dealing with concepts that seem similar and must always be attentive to get the first hand information from the teacher. Teaching and learning becomes very hard when learners do not concentrate by paying attention to what the teacher is explaining. For the serious students, learning becomes enjoyable and they do not get confused.

According to Chemkar and Weiss (1999), learners must not just sit down and listen, but they must involve themselves in some other activities such as reading, writing, discussing or solving problems. Basically, they must be very active and concentrate on what they are doing. These techniques are very essential because they have a great impact to the learners.

Students always support learning that is active than the traditional lecture methods because they master the content well and aids in the development of most skills such as writing and reading. So methods that enhance active learning motivate the learners since they also get more information from their fellow learners through discussions.

Students engage themselves in discussion groups or class presentations to break the monotony of lecture method of learning. Learning is a two way process and so both the teacher and the student must be involved.

Active learning removes boredom in the class and the students get so much involved thus improving understanding. This arouses the mind of the student leading to more concentration. During a lecture, the student should write down some of the important points that can later be expounded on.

Involvement in challenging tasks by the learners is so much important. The task should not be very difficult but rather it should just be slightly above the learner’s level of mastery. This makes the learner to get motivated and instills confidence. It leads to success of the learner due to the self confidence that aids in problem solving.

For instance, when a learner tackles a question that deemed hard and gets the answer correct, it becomes the best kind of encouragement ever. The learner gets the confidence that he can make it and this motivates him to achieve even more.

This kind of encouragement mostly occurs to the quick learners because the slow learners fail in most cases. This makes the slow learners fear tackling many problems. So, the concept might not apply to all the learners but for the slow learners who are determined, they can always seek for help incase of such a problem.

Moreover, another concept held by students is repetition because, the most essential factor in learning is efficient time in a task. For a student to study well he or she should consider repetition, that is, looking at the same material over and over again.

For instance, before a teacher comes for the lesson, the student can review notes and then review the same notes after the teacher gets out of class. So, the student reviews the notes many times thus improving the understanding level (Felder & Brent 1996). This simplifies revising for an exam because the student does not need to cram for it.

Reviewing the same material makes teaching very easy since the teacher does not need to go back to the previous material and start explaining again. It becomes very hard for those students who do not review their work at all because they do not understand the teacher well and are faced by a hard time when preparing for examinations.

Basically, learning requires quite enough time so that it can be effective. It also becomes a very big problem for those who do not sacrifice their time in reviews.

Acquisition of the main points improves understanding of the material to the student. Everything that is learnt or taught may not be of importance. Therefore, the student must be very keen to identify the main points when learning. These points should be written down or underlined because they become useful when reviewing notes before doing an exam. It helps in saving time and leads to success.

For those students who do not pay attention, it becomes very difficult for them to highlight the main points. They read for the sake of it and make the teacher undergo a very hard time during teaching. To overcome this problem, the students must be taught how to study so that learning can be effective.

Cooperative learning is also another concept held by the students. It is more detailed than a group work because when used properly, it leads to remarkable results. This is very encouraging in teaching and the learning environment as well.

The students should not work with their friends so that learning can be productive, instead every group should have at least one top level student who can assist the weak students. The groups assist them in achieving academic as well as social abilities due to the interaction. This learning concept benefits the students more because, a fellow student can explain a concept in a better way than how the teacher can explain in class.

Assignments are then given to these groups through a selected group leader (Felder& Brent 1996). Every member must be active in contributing ideas and respect of one’s ideas is necessary. It becomes very easy for the teacher to mark such kind of assignments since they are fewer than marking for each individual.

Learning becomes enjoyable because every student is given a chance to express his or her ideas freely and in a constructive manner. Teaching is also easier because the students encounter very many new ideas during the discussions. Some students deem it as time wastage but it is necessary in every discipline.

Every group member should be given a chance to become the group’s facilitator whose work is to distribute and collect assignments. Dormant students are forced to become active because every group member must contribute his or her points. Cooperative learning is a concept that requires proper planning and organization.

Completion of assignments is another student held learning concept. Its main aim is to assist the student in knowing whether the main concepts in a certain topic were understood. This acts as a kind of self evaluation to the student and also assists the teacher to know whether the students understood a certain topic. The assignments must be submitted to the respective teacher for marking.

Those students who are focused follow the teacher after the assignments have been marked for clarification purposes. This enhances learning and the student understands better. Many students differ with this idea because they do not like relating with the teacher (Marton &Beaty 1993). This leads to very poor grades since communication is a very essential factor in learning.

Teaching becomes easier and enjoyable when there is a student- teacher relationship. Assignment corrections are necessary to both the student and the teacher since the student comprehends the right method of solving a certain problem that he or she could not before.

Lazy students who do not do corrections make teaching hard for the teacher because they make the other students to lag behind. Learning may also become ineffective for them due to low levels of understanding.

Acquisition of facts is still another student held concept that aims at understanding reality. Students capture the essential facts so that they can understand how they suit in another context. Many students fail to obtain the facts because they think that they can get everything taught in class or read from books.

When studying, the student must clearly understand the topic so that he or she can develop a theme. This helps in making short notes by eliminating unnecessary information. So, the facts must always be identified and well understood in order to apply them where necessary. Teaching becomes easier when the facts are well comprehended by the students because it enhances effective learning.

Effective learning occurs when a student possesses strong emotions. A strong memory that lasts for long is linked with the emotional condition of the learner. This means that the learners will always remember well when learning is incorporated with strong emotions. Emotions develop when the students have a positive attitude towards learning (Marton& Beaty 1993).

This is because they will find learning enjoyable and exciting unlike those with a negative attitude who will find learning boring and of no use to them. Emotions affect teaching since a teacher will like to teach those students with a positive attitude towards what he is teaching rather than those with a negative attitude.

The positive attitude leads to effective learning because the students get interested in what they are learning and eventually leads to success. Learning does not become effective where students portray a negative attitude since they are not interested thus leading to failure.

Furthermore, learning through hearing is another student held concept. This concept enables them to understand what they hear thus calling for more attention and concentration. They prefer instructions that are given orally and are very keen but they also participate by speaking. Teaching becomes very enjoyable since the students contribute a lot through talking and interviewing.

Learning occurs effectively because the students involve themselves in oral reading as well as listening to recorded information. In this concept, learning is mostly enhanced by debating, presenting reports orally and interviewing people. Those students who do not prefer this concept as a method of learning do not involve themselves in debates or oral discussions but use other learning concepts.

Learners may also use the concept of seeing to understand better. This makes them remember what they saw and most of them prefer using written materials (Van Rosum & Schenk 1984). Unlike the auditory learners who grasp the concept through hearing, visual learners understand better by seeing.

They use their sight to learn and do it quietly. They prefer watching things like videos and learn from what they see. Learning occurs effectively since the memory is usually connected with visual images. Teaching becomes very easy when visual images are incorporated. They include such things like pictures, objects, graphs.

A teacher can use charts during instruction thus improving the students’ understanding level or present a demonstration for the students to see. Diagrams are also necessary because most students learn through seeing.

Use of visual images makes learning to look real and the student gets the concept better than those who learn through imaginations. This concept makes the students to use text that has got many pictures, diagrams, graphics, maps and graphs.

In learning students may also use the tactile concept whereby they gain knowledge and skills through touching. They gain knowledge mostly through manipulative. Teaching becomes more effective when students are left to handle equipments for themselves for instance in a laboratory practical. Students tend to understand better because they are able to follow instructions (Watkins & Regmy 1992).

After applying this concept, the students are able to engage themselves in making perfect drawings, making models and following procedures to make something. Learning may not take place effectively to those students who do not like manipulating because it arouses the memory and the students comprehends the concept in a better way.

Learning through analysis is also another concept held by students because they are able to plan their work in an organized manner which is based on logic ideas only. It requires individual learning and effective learning occurs when information is given in steps. This makes the teacher to structure the lessons properly and the goals should be clear.

This method of organizing ideas makes learning to become effective thus leading to success and achievement of the objectives. Analysis improves understanding of concepts to the learners (Watkins & Regmy 1992). They also understand certain procedures used in various topics because they are sequential.

Teaching and learning becomes very hard for those students who do not know how to analyze their work. Such students learn in a haphazard way thus leading to failure.

If all the learning concepts held by students are incorporated, then remarkable results can be obtained. A lot information and knowledge can be obtained through learning as long as the learner uses the best concepts for learning. Learners are also different because there are those who understand better by seeing while others understand through listening or touching.

So, it is necessary for each learner to understand the best concept to use in order to improve the understanding level. For the slow learners, extra time should be taken while studying and explanations must be clear to avoid confusion. There are also those who follow written instructions better than those instructions that are given orally. Basically, learners are not the same and so require different techniques.

Reference List

Benson, A., & Blackman, D., 2003. Can research methods ever be interesting? Active Learning in Higher Education, Vol. 4, No. 1, 39-55.

Chermak, S., & Weiss, A., 1999. Activity-based learning of statistics: Using practical applications to improve students’ learning. Journal of Criminal Justice Education , Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 361-371.

Felder, R., & Brent, R., 1996. Navigating the bumpy road to student-centered instruction. College Teaching , Vol. 44, No. 2, pp. 43-47.

Marton, F. & Beaty, E., 1993. Conceptions of learning. International Journal of Educational Research , Vol. 19, pp. 277-300.

Van Rossum, E., & Schenk, S., 1984. The relationship between learning conception, study strategy and learning outcome. British Journal of Educational Psychology , Vol. 54, No.1, pp. 73-85.

Watkins, D., & Regmy, M., 1992. How universal are student conceptions of learning? A Nepalese investigation. Psychologia , Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 101-110.

What Is Learning? FAQ

  • Why Is Learning Important? Learning means gaining new knowledge, skills, and values, both in a group or on one’s own. It helps a person to develop, maintain their interest in life, and adapt to changes.
  • Why Is Online Learning Good? Online learning has a number of advantages over traditional learning. First, it allows you to collaborate with top experts in your area of interest, no matter where you are located geographically. Secondly, it encourages independence and helps you develop time management skills. Last but not least, it saves time on transport.
  • How to Overcome Challenges in Online Learning? The most challenging aspects of distant learning are the lack of face-to-face communication and the lack of feedback. The key to overcoming these challenges is effective communication with teachers and classmates through videoconferencing, email, and chats.
  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

IvyPanda. (2022, July 31). What Is Learning? Essay about Learning Importance. https://ivypanda.com/essays/what-is-learning-essay/

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IvyPanda . "What Is Learning? Essay about Learning Importance." July 31, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/what-is-learning-essay/.

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What Motivates Lifelong Learners

  • John Hagel III

new learning essay

Many leaders think it’s the fear of losing your job. They’re wrong.

Looking to stay ahead of the competition, companies today are creating lifelong learning programs for their employees, but they are often less effective than they could be. That’s because they don’t inspire the right kind of learning: The creation of new knowledge (and not just the transfer of existing knowledge about existing skills). The author’s research shows that those who are motivated to this kind of learning are spurred not by fear of losing their jobs, which is often the motivation given, but by what he calls the “passion of the explorer.” The article describes this mindset and how companies can create it among their employees.

It seems that everyone in business today is talking about the need for all workers to engage in lifelong learning as a response to the rapid pace of technological and strategic change all around us. But I’ve found that most executives and talent management professionals who are charged with getting their people to learn aren’t thinking about what drives real learning — the creation of new knowledge, not just the handoff of existing knowledge. As a result, many companies are missing opportunities to motivate their employees to engage in the kind of learning that will actually help them innovate and keep pace with their customers’ changing needs.

  • John Hagel III   recently retired from Deloitte, where he founded and led the Center for the Edge , a research center based in Silicon Valley. A long-time resident of Silicon Valley, he is also a compulsive writer, having published eight books, including his most recent one,  The Journey Beyond Fear . He will be establishing a new Center to offer programs based on the book.

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  • Published: 25 January 2021

Online education in the post-COVID era

  • Barbara B. Lockee 1  

Nature Electronics volume  4 ,  pages 5–6 ( 2021 ) Cite this article

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  • Science, technology and society

The coronavirus pandemic has forced students and educators across all levels of education to rapidly adapt to online learning. The impact of this — and the developments required to make it work — could permanently change how education is delivered.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the world to engage in the ubiquitous use of virtual learning. And while online and distance learning has been used before to maintain continuity in education, such as in the aftermath of earthquakes 1 , the scale of the current crisis is unprecedented. Speculation has now also begun about what the lasting effects of this will be and what education may look like in the post-COVID era. For some, an immediate retreat to the traditions of the physical classroom is required. But for others, the forced shift to online education is a moment of change and a time to reimagine how education could be delivered 2 .

new learning essay

Looking back

Online education has traditionally been viewed as an alternative pathway, one that is particularly well suited to adult learners seeking higher education opportunities. However, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has required educators and students across all levels of education to adapt quickly to virtual courses. (The term ‘emergency remote teaching’ was coined in the early stages of the pandemic to describe the temporary nature of this transition 3 .) In some cases, instruction shifted online, then returned to the physical classroom, and then shifted back online due to further surges in the rate of infection. In other cases, instruction was offered using a combination of remote delivery and face-to-face: that is, students can attend online or in person (referred to as the HyFlex model 4 ). In either case, instructors just had to figure out how to make it work, considering the affordances and constraints of the specific learning environment to create learning experiences that were feasible and effective.

The use of varied delivery modes does, in fact, have a long history in education. Mechanical (and then later electronic) teaching machines have provided individualized learning programmes since the 1950s and the work of B. F. Skinner 5 , who proposed using technology to walk individual learners through carefully designed sequences of instruction with immediate feedback indicating the accuracy of their response. Skinner’s notions formed the first formalized representations of programmed learning, or ‘designed’ learning experiences. Then, in the 1960s, Fred Keller developed a personalized system of instruction 6 , in which students first read assigned course materials on their own, followed by one-on-one assessment sessions with a tutor, gaining permission to move ahead only after demonstrating mastery of the instructional material. Occasional class meetings were held to discuss concepts, answer questions and provide opportunities for social interaction. A personalized system of instruction was designed on the premise that initial engagement with content could be done independently, then discussed and applied in the social context of a classroom.

These predecessors to contemporary online education leveraged key principles of instructional design — the systematic process of applying psychological principles of human learning to the creation of effective instructional solutions — to consider which methods (and their corresponding learning environments) would effectively engage students to attain the targeted learning outcomes. In other words, they considered what choices about the planning and implementation of the learning experience can lead to student success. Such early educational innovations laid the groundwork for contemporary virtual learning, which itself incorporates a variety of instructional approaches and combinations of delivery modes.

Online learning and the pandemic

Fast forward to 2020, and various further educational innovations have occurred to make the universal adoption of remote learning a possibility. One key challenge is access. Here, extensive problems remain, including the lack of Internet connectivity in some locations, especially rural ones, and the competing needs among family members for the use of home technology. However, creative solutions have emerged to provide students and families with the facilities and resources needed to engage in and successfully complete coursework 7 . For example, school buses have been used to provide mobile hotspots, and class packets have been sent by mail and instructional presentations aired on local public broadcasting stations. The year 2020 has also seen increased availability and adoption of electronic resources and activities that can now be integrated into online learning experiences. Synchronous online conferencing systems, such as Zoom and Google Meet, have allowed experts from anywhere in the world to join online classrooms 8 and have allowed presentations to be recorded for individual learners to watch at a time most convenient for them. Furthermore, the importance of hands-on, experiential learning has led to innovations such as virtual field trips and virtual labs 9 . A capacity to serve learners of all ages has thus now been effectively established, and the next generation of online education can move from an enterprise that largely serves adult learners and higher education to one that increasingly serves younger learners, in primary and secondary education and from ages 5 to 18.

The COVID-19 pandemic is also likely to have a lasting effect on lesson design. The constraints of the pandemic provided an opportunity for educators to consider new strategies to teach targeted concepts. Though rethinking of instructional approaches was forced and hurried, the experience has served as a rare chance to reconsider strategies that best facilitate learning within the affordances and constraints of the online context. In particular, greater variance in teaching and learning activities will continue to question the importance of ‘seat time’ as the standard on which educational credits are based 10 — lengthy Zoom sessions are seldom instructionally necessary and are not aligned with the psychological principles of how humans learn. Interaction is important for learning but forced interactions among students for the sake of interaction is neither motivating nor beneficial.

While the blurring of the lines between traditional and distance education has been noted for several decades 11 , the pandemic has quickly advanced the erasure of these boundaries. Less single mode, more multi-mode (and thus more educator choices) is becoming the norm due to enhanced infrastructure and developed skill sets that allow people to move across different delivery systems 12 . The well-established best practices of hybrid or blended teaching and learning 13 have served as a guide for new combinations of instructional delivery that have developed in response to the shift to virtual learning. The use of multiple delivery modes is likely to remain, and will be a feature employed with learners of all ages 14 , 15 . Future iterations of online education will no longer be bound to the traditions of single teaching modes, as educators can support pedagogical approaches from a menu of instructional delivery options, a mix that has been supported by previous generations of online educators 16 .

Also significant are the changes to how learning outcomes are determined in online settings. Many educators have altered the ways in which student achievement is measured, eliminating assignments and changing assessment strategies altogether 17 . Such alterations include determining learning through strategies that leverage the online delivery mode, such as interactive discussions, student-led teaching and the use of games to increase motivation and attention. Specific changes that are likely to continue include flexible or extended deadlines for assignment completion 18 , more student choice regarding measures of learning, and more authentic experiences that involve the meaningful application of newly learned skills and knowledge 19 , for example, team-based projects that involve multiple creative and social media tools in support of collaborative problem solving.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, technological and administrative systems for implementing online learning, and the infrastructure that supports its access and delivery, had to adapt quickly. While access remains a significant issue for many, extensive resources have been allocated and processes developed to connect learners with course activities and materials, to facilitate communication between instructors and students, and to manage the administration of online learning. Paths for greater access and opportunities to online education have now been forged, and there is a clear route for the next generation of adopters of online education.

Before the pandemic, the primary purpose of distance and online education was providing access to instruction for those otherwise unable to participate in a traditional, place-based academic programme. As its purpose has shifted to supporting continuity of instruction, its audience, as well as the wider learning ecosystem, has changed. It will be interesting to see which aspects of emergency remote teaching remain in the next generation of education, when the threat of COVID-19 is no longer a factor. But online education will undoubtedly find new audiences. And the flexibility and learning possibilities that have emerged from necessity are likely to shift the expectations of students and educators, diminishing further the line between classroom-based instruction and virtual learning.

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Maloy, R. W., Trust, T. & Edwards, S. A. Variety is the spice of remote learning. Medium https://go.nature.com/34Y1NxI (24 August 2020).

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Lockee, B.B. Online education in the post-COVID era. Nat Electron 4 , 5–6 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41928-020-00534-0

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Becoming a Teacher: What I Learned about Myself During the Pandemic

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Introduction to the Article by Andrew Stremmel

Now, more than ever, we need to hear the voices of preservice teachers as well as in-service teachers during this pandemic. How has the pandemic affected them? In what ways has the pandemic enabled them to think about the need to really focus on what matters, what’s important? What were the gains and losses? These are very important questions for our time.  In this essay, Alyssa Smith, a senior studying early childhood education, attempts to address the lessons learned from her junior year, focusing on the positive aspects of her coursework and demonstrating an imaginative, growth mindset. This essay highlights the power of students’ reflection on their own learning. But I think it does so much more meaningful contemplation than we might expect of our students in “normal” times. Alyssa gains a new appreciation for this kind of active reflection—the opportunity to think more critically; to be more thoughtful; to stop, step back, catch her breath, and rethink things. As a teacher educator and her mentor, I believe this essay represents how the gift of time to stop and reflect can open space to digest what has been experienced, and how the gift of reflective writing can create a deeper level of thinking about how experiences integrate with one’s larger narrative as a person.

About the Author

Andrew Stremmel, PhD, is professor in early childhood education at South Dakota State University. His research is in teacher action research and Reggio Emilia-inspired, inquiry-based approaches to early childhood teacher education. He is an executive editor of  Voices of Practitioners .  

I’ve always known I was meant to be a teacher. I could feel my passion guide my work and lead my heart through my classes. So why did I still feel as if something was missing? During the fall of my junior year, the semester right before student teaching, I began to doubt my ability to be a great teacher, as I did not feel completely satisfied in my work. What I did not expect was a global pandemic that would shut down school and move all coursework online. I broke down. I wanted to do more than simply be a good student. I wanted to learn to be a great teacher. How was I supposed to discover my purpose and find what I was missing when I couldn’t even attend my classes? I began to fret that I would never become the capable and inspirational educator that I strived to be, when I was missing the firsthand experience of being in classrooms, interacting with children, and collaborating with peers.

It wasn’t until my first full semester being an online student that I realized the pandemic wasn’t entirely detrimental to my learning. Two of my early childhood education courses, Play and Inquiry and Pedagogy and Curriculum, allowed limited yet meaningful participation in a university lab school as well as engagement with problems of substance that require more intense thinking, discussion, analysis, and thoughtful action. These problems, which I briefly discuss below, presented challenges, provocations, possibilities, and dilemmas to be pondered, and not necessarily resolved. Specifically, they pushed me to realize that the educational question for our time is not, “What do I need to know about how to teach?” Rather, it is, “What do I need to know about myself in the context of this current pandemic?” I was therefore challenged to think more deeply about who I wanted to be as a teacher and who I was becoming, what I care about and value, and how I will conduct myself in the classroom with my students.

These three foundations of teaching practice (who I want to be, what I value, and how I will conduct myself) were illuminated by a question that was presented to us students in one of the very first classes of the fall 2020 semester: “What’s happening right now in your experience that will help you to learn more about yourself and who you are becoming?” This provocation led me to discover that, while the COVID-19 pandemic brought to light (and at times magnified) many fears and insecurities I had as a prospective teacher, it also provided me with unique opportunities, time to reflect, and surprising courage that I feel would not otherwise have been afforded and appreciated.

Although I knew I wanted to be a teacher, I had never deliberately pondered the idea of what kind of teacher I wanted to be. I held the core values of being an advocate for children and helping them grow as confident individuals, but I still had no idea what teaching style I was to present. Fortunately, the pandemic enabled me to view my courses on play and curriculum as a big “look into the mirror” to discern what matters and what was important about becoming a teacher.

As I worked through the rest of the course, I realized that this project pushed me to think about my identity as an educator in relation to my students rather than simply helping me understand my students, as I initially thought. Instead, a teacher’s identity is formed in relation to or in relationship with our students: We take what we know about our students and use it to shape ourselves and how we teach. I found that I had to take a step back and evaluate my own perceptions and beliefs about children and who I am in relation to them. Consequently, this motivated me to think about myself as a classroom teacher during the COVID-19 pandemic. What did I know about children that would influence the way I would teach them?

I thought about how children were resilient, strong, and adaptable, possessing an innate ability to learn in nearly any setting. While there were so many uncertainties and fear surrounding them, they adapted to mask-wearing, limited children in the classroom, and differentiated tasks to limit cross-contamination. Throughout, the children embodied being an engaged learner. They did not seem to focus on what they were missing; their limitless curiosity could not keep them from learning. Yet, because young children learn primarily through relationships, they need some place of learning that helps them to have a connection with someone who truly knows, understands, and cares about them. Thus, perhaps more than any lesson, I recognized my relationship with children as more crucial. By having more time to think about children from this critical perspective, I felt in my heart the deeper meaning children held to me.

My compassion for children grew, and a greater respect for them took shape, which overall is what pushed me to see my greater purpose for who I want to be as an educator. The pandemic provided time to develop this stronger vision of children, a clearer understanding of how they learn, and how my identity as a teacher is formed in relationship with children. I don’t think I would have been able to develop such a rich picture of how I view children without an in-depth exploration of my identity, beliefs, and values.

In my curriculum course, I was presented a different problem that helped me reflect on who I am becoming as an educator. This was presented as a case study where we as students were asked the question, “Should schools reopen amidst the COVID-19 pandemic?” This was a question that stumped school districts around the nation, making me doubt that I would be able to come up with anything that would be remotely practical. I now was experiencing another significant consequence of the pandemic: a need for new, innovative thinking on how to address state-wide academic issues. My lack of confidence, paired with the unknowns presented by the pandemic, made me feel inadequate to take on this problem of meaning.

To address this problem, I considered more intentionally and reflectively what I knew about how children learn; issues of equity and inequality that have led to a perceived achievement gap; the voices of both teachers and families; a broader notion of what school might look like in the “new normal”; and the role of the community in the education of young children. Suddenly, I was thinking in a more critical way about how to address this problem from the mindset of an actual and more experienced teacher, one who had never faced such a conundrum before. I knew that I had to design a way to allow children to come back into a classroom setting, and ultimately find inspiration for learning in this new normal. I created this graphic (above) to inform families and teachers why it is vital to have students return to school. As a result, I became an educator. I was now thinking, feeling, and acting as a teacher. This case study made me think about myself and who I am becoming as a teacher in a way that was incredibly real and relevant to what teachers were facing. I now found inspiration in the COVID-19 pandemic, as it unlocked elements of myself that I did not know existed.

John Dewey (1916) has been attributed to stating, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” Learning may begin in the classroom, but it does not end there. Likewise, teaching is not a role, but a way of being. The ability to connect with children and to engage them meaningfully depends less on the methods we use than on the degree to which we know and trust ourselves and are willing to share that knowledge with them. That comes through continually reflecting on who we are in relation to children and their families, and what we do in the classroom to create more meaningful understanding of our experiences. By embodying the role of being an educator, I grew in ways that classroom curriculum couldn't prepare me for. Had it not been for the pandemic, this might not have been possible.

Dewey, J. 1916. Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education . New York: MacMillan.

Alyssa Marie Smith  is currently an early childhood education student studying at South Dakota State University. She has been a student teacher in the preschool lab on campus, and now works as a kindergarten out of school time teacher in this same lab school. In the fall, she plans to student teach in an elementary setting, and then go on to teach in her own elementary classroom.

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Importance of Learning: Essay Intro Examples and Tips

Table of Contents

Learning is a continuous process. It doesn’t just stop at school. There’s a broad selection of learning topics that you can write about for your essay. You can talk about E-learning, Key Concepts of Learning, and so on. Regardless of the topic you’ve been assigned to write on, it’s essential to do some thorough research. And to start your essay right, you will need a winning  learning essay introduction.

You need to make your essay introduction informative while still being interesting. This is why we’ve gathered the best intro examples and writing tips you can use. Check them out and start winning those essays!

A wall sign in the shape of a pencil that says

Writing Tips for a Great Learning Essay Introduction

Keep it interesting.

Your learning essay introduction can make or break your essay. There are many ways you can keep it interesting and professional. Here are just some ideas to hook your reader in.

  • Include a surprising fact that conveys something about the problem to be addressed in the paper.
  • Find an interesting quote that summarizes your arguments well.
  • Put your readers in a different situation using rhetorical questions to make them think about your topic in a new way.
  • Start with an anecdote or story to get your readers emotionally engaged.

Present statistical data

Do your research and gather concrete statistical data you can cite in your intro. Not only does this make your essay look more credible, but it also serves as proof to strengthen your argument.

Be mindful of your intro length.

An intro that’s too long might overwhelm your readers. But an introduction that’s too short won’t be able to introduce and elaborate on your work fully. A good rule of thumb in determining the proper intro length is that it should be 10% of the overall length of your essay. If your essay is 2000 words long, your intro should be approximately 200 words long.

8 Introduction Examples for Learning Essays

Example 1: the benefits of online learning.

Your life is a continuous learning process, and you never stop learning. Whenever you attend school, you will learn new things every day. But learning is not just limited to students. No matter how old you are, you can learn new things.

Online learning is an excellent way for people of all ages to learn new things. There are many online courses available that can help you learn new skills. Online learning can help you accomplish your goals, whether learning about a new topic or improving your existing skills. It’s also convenient and flexible, so you can study at your own pace. With its many benefits, online learning is becoming more popular every year.

Example 2: The Importance of Learning

Learning provides us with new knowledge that will significantly impact our well-being. As an individual, learning new skills and techniques can help you have an intelligent conversation with others. If a person has learned the necessary business skills, they would be a great asset to a company. After college students learn all the educational knowledge, they can move forward in their lives to be better and bigger. Learning can provide many benefits for individuals, but they must seek it out passionately. One cannot expect to learn a new skill or technique every day.

Example 3: Learning Process

It is helpful to try something new instead of doing the same thing every single day. When people experience new things and learn new material, they are learning. Many people do not realize it, but we are learning something new every day. Learning causes a permanent change in behavior or knowledge that comes from experience. It can also be adaptive and flexible to meet life’s demands. There’s nothing as important as the process of learning. Learning transforms and engages one’s brain. When people are introduced to new things, their thinking and ideas can change forever.

Example 4: How Learning Changes Us

Learning is a continuous process that is constantly changing for me. Through it, I feel better than I did the day before. Learning has enabled me to discover myself as an individual and discover my strengths and weaknesses. I continue to become better every day.

Example 5: The Introduction To E-Learning

E-learning is a recognized educational practice that supports a flexible model of knowledge access. It enables education and training to serve a numerically larger audience than traditional methods can adequately support. Teachers are still necessary for students and always will be, but the fact that e-learning is now widespread can revolutionize education. E-learning can be changed, modified, and adapted to changing student needs. Distances are no longer an obstacle to someone studying. However, some e-learning methods require some initiation/training to familiarize themselves.

Example 6: Benefits of Mastering English

Language has become critical to understanding technology and information in this age of globalization. If you can’t master a foreign language, it becomes very challenging to communicate with people worldwide. Multifarious and multicultural societies have their own languages. Therefore, worldwide interaction and communication must be supported by one global language. English is that one global language. A good grasp of English is beneficial since it gives us many opportunities for success.

Example 7: E-Learning is The Future

Most e-learning programs have grown exponentially in recent years. Online courses offer students a convenient and flexible way to learn, resulting in increased conversions among students of all ages. There is no doubt that e-learning is the future of education. A traditional classroom learning method will always be necessary. But the fast-growing online network provides valuable resources to educate people from all walks of life. The flexibility of e-learning also allows people to study at their own pace and in their own time. More and more people are turning to e-learning to further their education.

Example 8: Online Learning for Workers

In today’s increasingly competitive job market, workers must constantly refresh their skills and knowledge. Traditional schools and colleges are not always possible for busy adults to balance work and family obligations. But thanks to the internet, access to quality educational resources has become easier. You can now learn new skills and knowledge online without leaving your office. They are an ideal solution for busy professionals. With so many online learning portals now available, there is no excuse for learning new skills or improving your existing skill set.

Wrapping Up

Writing a  learning essay introduction  can seem daunting at first, but with the proper research and these tips, it will become much more manageable.

Remember, your introduction is the first impression your viewers will have of your essay , so it’s the perfect place to grab their attention. Get them excited about what your essay has to offer.

Importance of Learning: Essay Intro Examples and Tips

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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The New York Times

The learning network | getting personal: writing college essays for the common application.

The Learning Network - Teaching and Learning With The New York Times

Getting Personal: Writing College Essays for the Common Application

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/education/edlife/common-app-4-0.html">Go to related 2012 article on the Common Application <strong></strong></a><strong><a href="//learning.blogs.nytimes.com/category/american-history/">»</a></strong>

Language Arts

Teaching ideas based on New York Times content.

  • See all in Language Arts »
  • See all lesson plans »

Overview | How can reading The New York Times help students practice for the new college essay prompts on the Common Application? What tips on college-essay writing can they learn from The Choice blog? In this lesson, students will explore the open-ended topics for the 2013-14 Common Application essays through writing and discussion. Then, they will identify and examine Times pieces that might serve as “mentor texts” for their own application essays. Finally, they will craft their own college admissions essay in response to one of the new prompts, using advice from Learning Network and The Choice Blog.

Materials | Student journals

Warm-Up | Prior to class, post these prompts at the front of the room, or prepare to project them. Do not tell students that they are the new prompts for the Common Application essay.

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/education/09guidance-t.html">Go to related article on the college essay »</a>

When students arrive, ask them to form two concentric circles, facing one another. During the activity, the students forming the inside circle remain still, which the students in the outside circle will travel to their left when given the signal. Explain to students that you are going to do a “speed-dating” activity.

Project or unveil the first prompt and tell students that they will talk about the topic with the person across from them for five minutes. Within that time, each student should play the role of speaker and listener. Set a timer for five minutes and signal that they should begin. Once time is up the outer circle rotates left. Unveil a new topic and begin the process again until students have discussed each topic, rotating to new discussion partners with each prompt. Then, ask students to return to their seats.

Alternatively, depending on the nature of your class, you could post the topics up around the room and ask students to take their journals and form small groups by each topic. Then, conduct a free-writing marathon. Have students free-write using the topic they are standing in front of as a starting point. Tell them they have five minutes and set a timer. At the conclusion of the time period, ask students to rotate to the next topic and begin free-writing. Repeat this process until students reach their starting point. Then, ask them to return to their seats.

Open discussion by asking the following questions:

  • Which of these topics did you find the easiest to discuss? Why?
  • Which of these did you find difficult? Why?
  • Which of these prompts did you want to continue talking (or writing) about?

Then, invite students to share a story or a favorite free-write effort with the whole group.

Finally, share with students that these are the new essay topics for the common application essay and ask them what they think. Are these good topics? Is there something here for everyone? Do some help colleges get to know students better than others? Do they fuel or lessen anxiety about the college application process? You might use some of the comments in response to The Choice post to spark discussion.

Related | In Common Application Releases New Essay Prompts , Tanya Abrams unveils the new Common App essay topics for the 2013-14 admissions season.

The new Common Application — which received some criticism a few months ago for removing the “topic of your choice” essay prompt — has released five new essay prompts for the 2013-14 admissions season, Inside Higher Ed reports. Students who plan to use the Common App, a form that allows students to apply to multiple colleges and universities simultaneously, are advised to keep these essay prompts in mind. Savvy juniors, and regular readers of this blog, know that the earlier a college applicant starts drafting his or her essay, the more prepared they are. Here are the new essay prompts: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn? Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again? Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you? Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Questions | For discussion and reading comprehension:

  • Why did the Common Application receive criticism several months ago for its essay prompts?
  • Do you miss the “topic of your choice” option? Why or why not?
  • Why would The Choice publish these topics now?
  • What do the new topics have in common??
  • How do you feel about the new word count?


From the learning network.

  • Lesson | Going Beyond Cliché: How to Write a Great College Essay
  • Student Opinion | What Mundane Moments in Your Life Might Make Great Essay Material?
  • Lesson | Getting Personal: Creating Your Own College Essay Prompts

From NYTimes.com

  • Common Application is Removing a Surprising Essay Topic
  • Juniors: In the Quiet of Summer, Start Your Essays
  • Your Admissions Essay, Live on Stage

Around the Web

  • Juniors and Common App Essays: Wait to Write Them
  • TeenInk College Guide: Today’s Best College Essays
  • >MIT Admissions: How to Write a College Essay

Activity | Tell students that they will have the opportunity to expand on the ideas they discussed at the beginning of class by drafting an essay in response to one of the prompts, but first, they are going to comb The New York Times for models of each topic and look closely at them to see how others have told their stories and what they might learn about how to effectively tell their own. ( Note: Many of the pieces we’ve chosen as “mentor texts” below, are either by or about young people, but some are not. Please use the choices as suggestions only: there are many, many pieces in The Times weekly that fit the Common App prompts well.)

Assign pairs or groups of students each one of the new Common App essay topics and ask them to search the Times (and elsewhere) for essays that might serves as models. Give each group the following articles, essays, or columns to use as starting points. Each group member should find at least one additional model and bring in the clipping or Web site to class for analysis and discussion.

Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

  • It’s O.K. to Put Yourself First : An essay in which a writer meditates on the impact of a serious illness on her life and family.
  • My Son and the City : A woman moves to New York City with her son, who has serious medical challenges and developmental disabilities–and, she writes, “in a place famous for its anonymous crowds, [he] has been learning about people.”

Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?

  • A Rat’s Tale : A writer discusses her failure to be the sister her brother wanted and what she learned.
  • Pancake Chronicles : An entertaining account of a disastrous first job.
  • A Heartbroken Temp at Brides.com : After a groom changes his mind, his would-be bride, with “no money, no apartment, no job” takes a position at a wedding Web site.

Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

  • From Tehran to the B Train : A young woman stands up to a mugger on the subway.
  • Winning Essay: Win a Trip Contest : An essay about fighting injustice all around the world.
  • I Found My Biological Parents, and Wish I Hadn’t : “I’d expected to find more common ground,” writes the author of this essay.

Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?

  • Yes, I’m in a Clique : A Student from Columbine High School discusses the comfort of a clique.
  • My Manhattan; A Lifetime of Memories and Magic : A meditation on Central Park
  • My Home in Africa : An American feels at home in the Republic of Benin.

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

  • A Life Plan for Two, Followed by One : An essay about young love and loss of innocence.
  • Forbidden Nofruit : A reflection on junk food, family, and rebellion.
  • Bitter Sweets : A young man who has “a hard time” with his Chinese-American identity looks for an apartment with his white girlfriend.

Generally speaking, the following Times sections offer good models for personal essays:

  • Lives Columns
  • Modern Love Columns
  • The Townies series

In addition, the following Learning Network features pull together high interest pieces that make good models for student writing.

  • Great Read-Alouds From The New York Times
  • Teenagers in the Times
  • Using Opening Lines From the Magazine’s ‘Lives’ Column as Writing Prompts
  • 10 Personal Writing Ideas

When students identify the models, ask them to analyze them as models for writing, using the following questions:

  • How does the writer begin the piece? Is it effective? Why or why not? What advice would you give an essay writer based on how this model begins?
  • Where do you see the writer demonstrating what he or she is saying? In other words, where is he or she showing, rather than telling?
  • What words does the writer use that really make his or her voice come alive for you?
  • How does the piece end? Is this an effective technique? Why or why not?
  • Finally, try “reverse outlining” the piece to see how the writer organized and developed his or her ideas.

Help students explore more Times models and advice for writing well with this lesson . For expository essay models that go beyond the personal, try this one .

Going Further |

<a href="//www.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/booming/returning-favors-with-neighborly-advice.html">Go to related essay about helping others to write the college essay <strong></strong></a><strong><a href="//learning.blogs.nytimes.com/category/lesson-plans">»</a></strong>

After exploring Times models, students are now ready to craft their own essays. Ask students to choose a topic that intrigued them during the warm-up and draft an essay, using Times Resources to help them.

They might start with the three articles we’ve pulled drawings from to illustrate this lesson plan:

  • Common App 4.0
  • The Almighty Essay
  • Returning Favors With Neighborly Advice

Then move on to specific advice offered by The Choice blog:

  • On College Essay, Write About Something That Made You ‘Feel Deeply’”
  • A Plea From the Admissions Office to Go for the ‘Dangerous’ Essay
  • What the New Dean at Pomona Looks for in an Essay

  • Hearing the Voice of a 51-Year-Old Man in the Essay of a 17-Year-Old Girl
  • Treating a College Admissions Essay Like a First Date
  • Crafting an Application Essay that ‘Pops’
  • Tip Sheet: An Admissions Dean Offers Advice on Writing a College Essay
  • Advice on Whittling Your Admissions Essay

Students who are having trouble coming up with ideas might browse the responses to our Student Opinion question What Mundane Moments in Your Life Might Make Great Essay Material? or this tip sheet from The Choice blog.

Teachers wishing to develop this lesson into a more complete unit on the college essay might focus more on crafting the essay itself using this lesson on Going Beyond Cliché: How to Write a Great College Essay” coupled with the resources from this 2009 lesson . Students might also find this advice useful.

Once students have completed their drafts, ask that they use the College Essay Checklist (PDF) to evaluate their essays either individually or in pairs.

Common Core ELA Anchor Standards, 6-12

Reading 1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. 4. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. 5. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs and larger parts of the text (for example, a section, chapter, scene or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. 6. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. 10. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Writing 3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences. 4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to task, purpose and audience. 5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting or trying a new approach.

Speaking and Listening 1. Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Language 1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. 3. Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.

Comments are no longer being accepted.

What a great resource you are, and to think that until last week I had no idea you even existed! Thanks to your post, I just followed up on The Choice’s suggestion to add additional helpful essay-starting exercises of my own. “What’s in your room?” has long been the prompt I use to get things rolling – even before the Common App posted its new questions. And look: Question 4 readily lends itself to that train of thought.

Your suggestions have also been a good way for me to refine an area where I don’t quite agree. I’ve never found it useful to have students look at model essays written by other people, in the same way I don’t (usually) find it a good idea when students begin their essays with someone else’s lofty quotation. I’d much rather give them the strategies to look deeper within themselves to provide both the text and, more importantly, the subtext. In fact, I don’t feel that even the Common Core heeds the omnipresence of a deeper intuitive logic within the writing process. In the college essay I believe the chief goal should be to get students to realize they are the only authority they may need when it comes to making, then sharing, the amazing, unique connections they have arrived at based on experiences they alone are qualified to speak of. =)

Thanks so much for letting us know, Maxene! (And consider inviting your students to do our Summer Reading Contest , too!) –Katherine

This chart is very use fol for students

This is one of the most extensive and helpful posts I’ve read on how to write college admissions essays. My feeling is that most English teachers know their great literature, but are not as versed on teaching writing–especially narrative style pieces. I agree that the best place to get ideas for unique topics, as well as learn how to structure these more informal essays, is by reading what others have written. You have collected a wonderful assortment of sample essays. Reading excellent writing, especially the New York Times, is also very helpful, especially feature-style articles that use creative writing techniques, such as anecdotal leads and descriptive details. I try to share similar writing advice on my blog, Essay Hell.

Excellent resource, thank you.

I am in the process of writing my common application essay, and this is served as inspiration.

It was very useful for me.

Is the essay you write just as important as your SAT scores?

This will help me immensely when I begin writing my college essay prompt.

Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. //www.essayhelpcollege.blogspot.com //writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/application-essays/

Common Application will retain the current set of first-year essay prompts for 2014-15, without any edits or additions. //dartmouth.edu/writing-speech/ wwwbuyessay.co.uk

I saw some sources about relationship. Is it okay to write about your love and how in has influenced you to become a better person?

Hi, these tips are really helpful to write my personal statement for law school. I was feeling overwhelmed to compose my personal statement.

Found your blog very useful & informative. Thanks for such a nice post.

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NeurIPS 2024

Conference Dates: (In person) 9 December - 15 December, 2024

Homepage: https://neurips.cc/Conferences/2024/

Call For Papers 

Author notification: Sep 25, 2024

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The Thirty-Eighth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS 2024) is an interdisciplinary conference that brings together researchers in machine learning, neuroscience, statistics, optimization, computer vision, natural language processing, life sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, and other adjacent fields. We invite submissions presenting new and original research on topics including but not limited to the following:

  • Applications (e.g., vision, language, speech and audio, Creative AI)
  • Deep learning (e.g., architectures, generative models, optimization for deep networks, foundation models, LLMs)
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Machine learning is a rapidly evolving field, and so we welcome interdisciplinary submissions that do not fit neatly into existing categories.

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Slow Learning

This paper investigates what features of an economy determine whether convergence under learning is fast or slow. In all of the models that we consider, people's beliefs about model outcomes are central determinants of those outcomes. We argue that under certain circumstances, convergence of a learning equilibrium to the rational expectations equilibrium can be so slow that policy analysis based on rational expectations is very misleading. We also develop new analytic results regarding rates of convergence in learning models.

The analysis and conclusions set forth are those of the authors and do not indicate concurrence by the Board of Governors or anyone else. The authors thank Klaus Adam, George-Marios Angeletos, Ed Herbst, Albert Marcet, Damjan Pfajfar, Bruce Preston, Tom Sargent, Robert Tetlow, Ivan Werning and participants in a number of seminars for helpful comments and suggestions. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research or anyone associated with the Federal Reserve System.

I am a consultant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, as well as the Central Bank of the Peru, the Phillipines and Uganda.


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15th Annual Feldstein Lecture, Mario Draghi, "The Next Flight of the Bumblebee: The Path to Common Fiscal Policy in the Eurozone cover slide

new learning essay

Children and adolescents enjoy learning new words, study finds

N ew research led by academics at Royal Holloway, University of London, published in Developmental Science , suggests that children and adolescents remain excited by learning new words, all the way until adulthood.

The study, led by Professor Saloni Krishnan from the Department of Psychology, investigated how much children and adolescents enjoy learning the meaning of new words, as well as how well they retain them over time. This would suggest that such learning can be intrinsically motivating.

Recent research has demonstrated that adults experience a feeling of reward or "buzz" when they successfully learn new words which significantly enhances long-term memory retention of newly acquired words. This is linked to a dopaminergic circuit in the brain, which typically lights up for external rewards such as money.

The researchers in this study set out to apply these findings in children, to see if they feel the same way about learning and remembering new words.

The study involved 345 children between the ages of 10 to 18. The children were given 40 self-paced trials, which involved pairing two sentences to make sense of the new word they were learning.

Children were tasked with working out the meaning of a new word by making a prediction based on the sentence context. They were then asked to rate their emotions, including confidence, happiness, and excitement, after every question.

The research found that not only did the children and adolescents learn and retain the words, but they also found the experience of successfully learning to be enjoyable. This is the first demonstration that language learning is intrinsically rewarding in children and provides clues to why we seek out and enjoy learning words (unlike our closest evolutionary cousins the chimpanzees).

Professor Saloni Krishnan, from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, said, "It was important to carry out this rigorous research to understand why children learn words.

"Our findings conclusively demonstrate children find such learning intrinsically rewarding—and don't need external rewards like validation. I think the experience of enjoyment is an important signal to seek out new knowledge and build our vocabulary.

"This helps us identify the aspects of learning that children find rewarding, and in the future, could help us to design more engaging programs. For example, in my lab, we're now assessing if neurodivergent children, such as children with dyslexia, experience reward in the same way."

More information: Amrita Bains et al, The role of intrinsic reward in adolescent word learning, Developmental Science (2024). DOI: 10.1111/desc.13513

Provided by Royal Holloway, University of London

Schematic depiction of the learning phase on Day 1, showing representative M+ and M− trials, as well as the pictorial rating scales encountered by participants (color codes in A are for illustrative purposes in this figure; participants see black letters over a white background). Credit: Developmental Science (2024). DOI: 10.1111/desc.13513

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Student ‘How To’ Contest Winner

How to Be a Kid Forever

A winning essay by Raniya Chowdhury, age 17.

photo illustration of a wooden ring stacking toy; the rings are primary colors; a shadow of an adult's face and tiny butterfly extends from the right hand side of the toy

By The Learning Network

This essay, by Raniya Chowdhury, 17, of Mississauga, Ontario, is one of the Top 11 winners of The Learning Network’s new “How To” Informational Writing Contest for Teenagers .

We are publishing the work of all the winners over the next several days, and you can find them here as they post.

“The best part of being a kid is getting candy when you’re sad,” says eight-year-old Lolia Almasri, who is a Mickey Mouse-loving third grader living in the sleepy suburbs of southern Ontario, and a leading expert on all things kid-related. For many teenagers like myself who dance on the cusp of “adulthood” — in the legal sense, anyway — grappling with growing up has felt like an impending apocalypse of responsibilities. To those counting down the doomsday clock of turning 18, you might be hoping to hold onto the feeling of youth and postpone the inevitable. Or maybe you’ve already been a grown-up for some time and long to reclaim that balmy, magical, wide-eyed wonder of childhood.

Well, according to Lolia, it’s not hard to keep being a kid, as it revolves around the core tenets of remembering the value of kindness and having fun. Empathy is the bedrock of her ethos and she expresses its importance through a personal anecdote: “When my friend needed scissors, I gave him mine and got another one.” The economy of kids is barter-based (e.g. if you give me your Pokémon card, I’ll give you my strawberry-scented eraser). Their transactions are exchanges of happiness, so a good place for you to start is by sharing things with others, even though that grows difficult with age.

Once you’ve mastered this, it’s time for the fun part. “Kids have to behave nice and also play,” Lolia says, which is a facet of childhood that I wonder why we ever let go of. A return to playing outdoors is imperative. Suspend your disbelief. Instead, make-believe! Don your light-up sneakers and search the woods for fairies, play hopscotch in the backyard, kick a ball around — allow yourself to sincerely enjoy it, the little things.

But, truly, what strikes me most about Lolia’s philosophy on living life like you’re in Neverland is her final step: a gentle reminder that “even if you’re a grown-up, if you’re scared at night you can still snuggle your parents.” After all, in Lolia’s world, there is no reality in which there won’t be someone to console her after a nightmare. To her, unicorns and dragons exist, and so does love, always. Ultimately, the best advice Lolia gives on being a kid forever is to have faith that you aren’t alone in life and to turn to someone when you’re afraid of the dark.

How Often Are Students Submitting AI Papers? Frequently, Says New Data

More than two million papers reviewed by Turnitin's AI detection tool had at least 80% AI-generated content

A robot writing an AI paper

Turnitin released its AI detection tool in April 2023 and since then it has reviewed more than 200 million student papers and found that 10.3% included at least 20% AI-generated content. In addition, 3% — more than 2 million papers or other written materials — consisted of at least 80% AI-generated content. 

A separate Turnitin-sponsored survey about use of AI in college among faculty and students also found that between spring 2023 and fall 2023 the number of students who said they used AI at least once a month rose 22%, going from 27% to 49% of respondents. 

These findings mesh with other recent data points on AI use, including a recent survey of college students from Intelligent.com that found that 37% of students used AI, and 29% percent of these students use it to generate entire papers. 

Anecdotally, I’ve noticed a steady trend upward in the number of AI-generated papers I am seeing in the introductory English courses I teach. 

I recently spoke with Patti West-Smith, Turnitin’s Senior Director of Customer Engagement and Customer Experience and a former principal. She discussed what this recent AI cheating data from Turnitin means and what we as teachers can do to protect academic integrity, and more importantly, the student learning that occurs through writing. 

Are 1 in 10 Students Really Using AI To Cheat?  

Not exactly. Though the Turnitin data found that roughly 1 in 10 papers submitted contained at least 20% AI-generated content, West-Smith isn’t particularly concerned about those papers because that level of AI writing in a paper might involve legitimate use. 

“Students who are struggling with language might be looking for a little help or have used it for research, and potentially didn't know that they should cite that depending on the instructor and the institution and their requirements,” she says. 

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What About The 3% of Papers That Were More Than 80% AI-Generated? 

These 2 million-plus papers are more concerning. “That indicates that the AI is being substituted for the student's own thinking,” West-Smith says. 

This is a problem for several reasons. “You don't want a student to get credit for work that they didn't complete, and from an assessment perspective, that's a really big deal,” she says. 

But more important than academic integrity is how the student is shortchanging their own learning process, West-Smith says. “Writing is a tool for thinking. It's the way that the brain makes sense of information. And if you are outsourcing that to AI on a regular basis on a big scale, like 80% of the writing, then what that indicates to me is that as a student, you're completely disengaged from that learning process, you have essentially outsourced it to a contractor.” 

Has AI Cheating Replaced Other Forms of Cheating?  

I’ve written about how the prevalence of AI-generated papers in my classroom has cost me a lot of time . However, on the bright side, I've started seeing less instances of traditional plagiarism. Unfortunately, this appears to be a fluke. 

“We theorized that potentially we would see this dramatic drop off of more classic instances of plagiarism,” West-Smith says. Turnitin data has not revealed that so far. “We are seeing just as much text similarity that comes in. I think one of the reasons for that is, in some cases, text similarity is not intentional plagiarism. You get a lot of skill deficit that leads to that. Students who don't know how to properly paraphrase. Students who don’t understand citation.” 

What Can I Do To Prevent AI Writing in My Class?  

This is one of the pressing questions in education. For her part, here are West-Smith’s suggestions: 

  • Institutions should have clear guidance around AI use that is communicated to teachers and from them to students. 
  • Institutions should also have clear guidance around whether AI detection tools are being used, which ones and what educators can do with the information these tools provide. Because of false-positives, educators should use AI detection readings as just one data point in assessing whether a student used AI.
  • Educators should educate themselves about AI. Learn the tool’s strengths, weaknesses, etc. 
  • Specific class policies around AI should be communicated as many instructors have AI use cases they are okay with and ones they don't allow. These policies sometimes vary from class to class. 

Ultimately, West-Smith says the communication component is critical and all too easy to overlook. 

“A mistake we sometimes make as instructors is that we make these assumptions that students have the same sort of value systems that we do, and they will just implicitly know what is right or wrong from our perspective. And it's been my experience that that's almost always not true,” she says. “The moment that you assume students believe the same thing you do. You already are at a level of miscommunication.” 

  • 8 Ways to Create AI-Proof Writing Prompts
  • 7 Ways To Detect AI Writing Without Technology

Erik Ofgang

Erik Ofgang is Tech & Learning's senior staff writer. A journalist,  author  and educator, his work has appeared in the Washington Post , The Atlantic , and Associated Press. He currently teaches at Western Connecticut State University’s MFA program. While a staff writer at Connecticut Magazine he won a Society of Professional Journalism Award for his education reporting. He is interested in how humans learn and how technology can make that more effective. 


Free Classes from Google and Adobe That Certify Educators Have Basic AI Literacy

Edtech Show & Tell: May 2024

Preparing the Blueprint for Student Interactivity

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Navel Gazing

John dickerson’s notebooks: remembering early 1990s new york.

Getting used to a new city, work advice, passing on wisdom, and more are explored in this week’s audio essay from John Dickerson.

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Episode Notes

In this week’s essay, John discusses an onboarding memo for his assistant Laura, and recounts his early days living and working in New York City.

Notebook Entries:

Notebook 75

Onboard memo for Laura

Notebook 3, page 44. May 1991

June 17 start job. Good stuff

Notebook 3, page 46. May 1991

Tips on buying renting in NYC

Ask about broker

20s and 30s East side. Murry Hill

Live on no major avenue

Interest bearing account for security deposit

Medeco locks

Notebook 4, page 15

Scared standing on 34th and Broadway

$6 cab fare

Notebook 4, page 42

Getting lost in the village


The Little Brown Book of Anecdotes by Clifton Fadiman

Medeco Locks

“ Here is New York ” by E.B. White

“ Silly Job Interview ” - Monty Python

John Cleese on Creativity in Management

Herbie Hancock: Miles Davis’ Essential Lesson On Mistakes

Want to listen to Navel Gazing uninterrupted? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately unlock ad-free listening to Navel Gazing and all your other favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/navelgazingplus to get access wherever you listen.

Podcast production by Cheyna Roth.

Email us at [email protected]

  • New York City

About the Show

Political Gabfest host John Dickerson has been a journalist for more than three decades, reporting about presidential campaigns, political scandals, and the evolving state of our democracy. Along the way, he’s also been recording his observations in notebooks he has carried in his back pocket. He has captured his thoughts about life, parenthood, death, friendship, writing, God, to-do lists, and more. On the Navel Gazing podcast, John Dickerson invites you to join him in figuring out what these 30 years of notebooks mean: sorting out what makes a life—or a day in a life—noteworthy.

John Dickerson is host of CBS News Prime Time With John Dickerson , co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest, host of the Whistlestop podcast, and author of The Hardest Job in the World .

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Computer Science > Machine Learning

Title: kan: kolmogorov-arnold networks.

Abstract: Inspired by the Kolmogorov-Arnold representation theorem, we propose Kolmogorov-Arnold Networks (KANs) as promising alternatives to Multi-Layer Perceptrons (MLPs). While MLPs have fixed activation functions on nodes ("neurons"), KANs have learnable activation functions on edges ("weights"). KANs have no linear weights at all -- every weight parameter is replaced by a univariate function parametrized as a spline. We show that this seemingly simple change makes KANs outperform MLPs in terms of accuracy and interpretability. For accuracy, much smaller KANs can achieve comparable or better accuracy than much larger MLPs in data fitting and PDE solving. Theoretically and empirically, KANs possess faster neural scaling laws than MLPs. For interpretability, KANs can be intuitively visualized and can easily interact with human users. Through two examples in mathematics and physics, KANs are shown to be useful collaborators helping scientists (re)discover mathematical and physical laws. In summary, KANs are promising alternatives for MLPs, opening opportunities for further improving today's deep learning models which rely heavily on MLPs.

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