Writing to Learn and Learning to Write

The traditional process of writing a paper on an academic topic typically includes the five steps of pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. When students learn to write, they use an analytic thinking process with an emphasis on the revision stage, and generally, the format is an essay, a longer report, or a research paper. This pedagogical approach of LTW values writing as a method of learning.

When students write reactions to information received in class or in reading, they often comprehend and retain the information better. Writing can also help students work through confusing new ideas and apply what they learn to their own lives and interests. Also, because students write more frequently, they become more comfortable with writing and are able to maintain or even improve upon their writing skills. WTL assignments are typically short and informal and can be performed either in or out of class. Examples include writing and reading journals, summaries, response papers, learning logs, problem analyses, and more.


Differences between Learning to Write and Writing to Learn


Writing to Learn

Learning to Write

Journals and learning logs

Book reports

Lab logs and notebooks

Research reports

Quick writes


Short narratives

Lab reports


Opinion editorials


Technical Papers