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Home » How Is Writing to Learn Different from Writing to Show Learning?

How Is Writing to Learn Different from Writing to Show Learning?

Have you ever noticed that you are more engaged with the content you are learning than with the content you are simply producing to prove that you have learned it?

I think we can all agree that learning through writing is one of the most effective and engaging methods there is. Whether you are just beginning your journey towards becoming a journalist or an author, or you are well on your way to becoming one, learning to write is a skill you will use for the rest of your life. Learning to write is also a great way to learn about the world and be more receptive to new ideas.

But why should your learning curve be different from that of a student reading an assignment for a class?

Here are a few reasons why you should be seeking out different goals when writing compared to when you are simply writing for study:

To Develop Your Skills

An author who is also a journalist will have a very specific skill set that can be applied to both writing forms. However, in terms of pure writing skills, the author is the one who has done the most practicing. The practice allows them to smoothly transition from idea to finished product and improves the overall quality of their writing. The journalist is less likely to make critical errors since they have to submit their work for scrutiny and immediate feedback.

On the other hand, the student is simply writing to prove that they have learned something. Whether they are writing a term paper for class or an essay for their company blog, the only thing the student really needs to improve is the appearance of their work. They have not yet developed the ability to write efficiently and logically, and they have no reason to believe that they can since they have not yet been graded on their work.

To Impress Your Readers

Since the purpose of writing is to educate or inform, the author seeks out a specific audience for their work. When you are writing for a specific audience, you have to adjust your writing to suit their needs and interests. When you are just writing for study, you do not have this consideration and can simply write what you know without regards to the reader.

But when you are writing for an audience, you are seeking out these individuals and considering what they might want or need from your writing. Since you already have an idea of who your intended audience is, you can work on adding more value to your writing by taking into account various topics that they might be interested in or by providing them with more detail about a particular subject.

Additionally, when you are writing for an audience, you are seeking to impress these individuals with your knowledge. To do this, you have to work on adding more value to your writing in the form of facts, figures, and unique insights. When you are simply writing for study, you are seeking to learn and understand and can use this to your advantage. Remember, writing is not about show­‐ing off. It is about educating and informing.

To Transform Your Thinking

When you are writing, you are putting your thoughts into words and forcing yourself to analyze and re-analyze the material you are presenting. This process of thinking, where you question and re-question everything, is called critical thinking. This is different from simply learning something and remembering it. While you are certainly learning something from your education, you are not yet practicing critical thinking.

When you are seeking to learn, you will be asking questions about the material you are studying. You might ask your teacher questions about what you have learned or maybe even ask a fellow student. You will not feel that you need to impress anyone with your knowledge, as there is no purpose in writing for study if you do not apply or integrate what you have learned into your day-to-day life. Writing to learn is different from writing to show learning. The first aims to grow your understanding of a particular subject while the latter simply focuses on the appearance of your work. The more you write, the better you will become at writing, but your approach to the craft should always be different.