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Essays About Knowledge: 5 Examples and 7 Prompts

Discover our guide with example essays about knowledge and helpful writing prompts to inspire you and assist with your next piece of writing.

Knowledge refers to information, facts, and skills acquired through education, life experience, and others. It’s critical in achieving power, wisdom, and respect as it lets us be conscious of our surroundings. Our knowledge sets us apart from others as we apply it to every aspect of our lives, such as problem-solving and skill development.

Since knowledge is a broad topic, it’s used in various writings, such as academic and personal essays . Before writing, ensure you understand the subject, know the proper format, and have the main points ready to add to your piece.


5 Essay Examples

1. long essay on knowledge by prasanna, 2. knowledge is power essay for students and children by anonymous on, 3. importance of historical knowledge by kristopher fitzgerald, 4. knowledge is power – essay by kirti daga, 5. knowledge is a lifelong process and leads to inventions by ankita yadav, 1. what is knowledge, 2. the true meaning of knowledge is power, 3. the value of knowledge, 4. how to boost knowledge, 5. knowledge vs. wealth, 6. the effect of insufficient knowledge, 7. how does knowledge help me in my everyday life.

“If there is no knowledge or not acquiring knowledge, such a person is merely existing or surviving and not living. Because to live a life, we are bound to make decisions. An appropriate decision can be made if we have the proper knowledge to analyze the problem and decide it.”

Prasanna defines knowledge as a weapon, shield, and the key to life. It’s something that sustains our existence. She deems that apart from books, one can learn from other people, nature, and even things we think are too trivial to matter. Prasanna includes a quote from Alexander Pope to discuss the importance of having extensive knowledge.

She suggests that it’s essential to apply knowledge to enjoy all of its perks. But ultimately, Prasanna believes that while knowledge is limitless, people should prioritize filling their brains with the information they can share with others. You might also be interested in these essays about leadership .

“… We can say that true knowledge help [a] person to bloom. Also, it keeps people away from fights and corruption. Besides, knowledge brings happiness and prosperity to the nation. Above all, knowledge opens the door of success for everyone.”

In this essay, the author refers to knowledge as something that can create and destroy life and balance on the planet. Although many are educated, only a few know the importance of knowledge. The writer further lists some benefits of knowledge, such as making impossible ideas possible, avoiding repeated mistakes, and realizing the difference between good and evil. Ultimately, the author believes that knowledge makes a person richer than billionaires because, unlike money, no one can steal knowledge.  

“Understanding our past is vitally important to the present and future of our civilization. We must find out to grow from our previous successes and errors. It is humanity to make errors, however the less we make, the stronger and smarter we end up being.”

Fitzgerald explains that understanding history is essential to learning from past mistakes. He points to the results of past failures recorded in books, such as death and damages. In addition, historical knowledge improves our lifestyle through modern technologies and efforts to restore the environment.

By studying the history of the world, people can understand the differences in customs and beliefs of different religions. This knowledge gives way to acceptance and appreciation, which are critical to avoiding conflicts originating from ignorant perceptions.

“Knowledge is power because it is intangible whereas money is tangible. An individual with knowledge is better than a fool with money because money cannot buy knowledge whereas knowledge can carve a part which will ultimately help in gaining loads and loads of money.”

In her essay, Daga provides two situations demonstrating how knowledge is more valuable than money. First, she states that wealth, skills, resources, and talent are useless if one doesn’t have the proper knowledge to use them. Meanwhile, even if you have few skills but are knowledgeable enough in a particular field, you have a higher chance of succeeding financially.

The essay also contains information about general knowledge vital to achieving life goals. It incorporates ways to gain knowledge, including reading books and newspapers, watching the latest news, and networking with people. 

“The whole life we learn and gain knowledge. Knowledge increases day by day. We work on the process of learning to gain more knowledge.”

Yadav relates knowledge to something that makes life beautiful. However, unlike an ordinary ornament, knowledge isn’t easily acquired. Knowledge is a lifelong process that people get from experiences, media, books, and others. It has many benefits, such as creating new inventions that improve society and the country. Yadav concludes her essay by saying that knowledge is a valuable asset. It assists people in achieving life goals and honing their moral values.

7 Prompts for Essays About Knowledge

Essays About Knowledge: What is knowledge?

There are many essays that define the word “knowledge”, you can use this prompt to explain the concept of knowledge in your own words. First, explain its textbook definition briefly, then analyze it using your own words and understanding. To conclude your piece, write about how you intend to use knowledge in your life. 

“Knowledge is power” is a famous quotation from Francis Bacon in his book Neues Organon. It’s a powerful quote that sparked various interpretations. For this prompt, you can compile meanings you see online or interview people on what they think the quote means. Then, compare it with the actual intention and origin of the citation.

Tip : Remember to add your analysis and ask the readers to create their interpretation to involve them in the discussion.

Continuous learning makes us better individuals and opens more opportunities for us. When we do what we can to collect knowledge from various media, we also feel a sense of accomplishment. For this prompt, list the reasons why you want to enrich your knowledge. Use this prompt to show the good and bad sides of cultivating knowledge by including what can happen if an individual applies their knowledge to do despicable things. 

You don’t need to follow a strict program or enroll in top universities to build your knowledge. In this essay, enumerate easy ways to enhance someone’s knowledge, such as having a healthy curiosity, being a reasonable observer and listener, and attending gatherings to socialize. Write down all the possible ways and tools someone needs to acquire more knowledge. Then, explain why it’s essential never to stop learning new things.

Essays About Knowledge: Knowledge vs. Wealth

At the start of your essay, ask your readers what they prefer: Extensive knowledge or ample wealth? Some will choose knowledge because money runs out quickly. They will argue that knowing how to handle cash will help secure and grow their finances. On the other hand, others will choose wealth and insist that they can hire people to manage their sizable assets. Share what your thoughts are on the question and answer it as well. You can look for surveys, interviews, and other research materials to gather data that can support your reasoning.

Identify the effects of having insufficient knowledge about a specific topic or in general terms. Add any negative results that can stem from this deficiency. Then, discuss why people need to get more knowledge today. For example, people automatically believe what they see on social media without fact-checking.

Tip : You can include steps the government and organizations should take to provide people with the correct information to avoid false claims.

For this essay topic, describe how knowledge assists you in your day-to-day life and enhances your experiences. Ensure to tackle how knowledge plays a part in your decision-making and your pathway in life.

For instance, you watched a documentary about greenhouse gasses and learned about light pollution. So, on bright mornings, you turn off all the lights in your house to decrease your bill and protect the environment .

If you want to use the latest grammar software for your paper, read our guide to using an AI grammar checker.


Essay on Importance of Knowledge

Students are often asked to write an essay on Importance of Knowledge in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on Importance of Knowledge

Knowledge: the key to success.

Knowledge is a powerful tool that can shape our lives. It helps us make informed decisions, solve problems, and understand the world around us.

Knowledge and Personal Growth

When we learn new things, we grow as individuals. Knowledge boosts our confidence and self-esteem, making us feel accomplished.

Knowledge and Society

Knowledge is essential for societal progress. It fuels innovation and development, leading to a better quality of life for everyone.

In conclusion, knowledge is vital. It empowers us personally and collectively, making it a cornerstone of success.

250 Words Essay on Importance of Knowledge


Knowledge is the bedrock of civilization, fostering growth, innovation, and progress. In the digital era, where information is at everyone’s fingertips, the importance of knowledge has become even more pronounced.

Empowerment through Knowledge

Knowledge empowers individuals, acting as a tool for personal and professional development. It broadens horizons, enhances critical thinking, and aids in decision-making. The more knowledge one possesses, the more adept they become in navigating the complexities of life.

At a societal level, knowledge is pivotal in driving economic growth and social change. It is the engine of technological advancements, scientific discoveries, and innovative solutions to global challenges. Knowledge also fosters cultural understanding, promoting tolerance and unity in diverse societies.

Knowledge in the Digital Age

In the digital age, knowledge has taken on a new dimension. With the proliferation of information, the ability to discern reliable from unreliable sources has become crucial. This underscores the importance of not just acquiring knowledge, but also cultivating the skills to critically evaluate it.

In conclusion, knowledge is a powerful catalyst for personal growth, societal advancement, and global progress. As we navigate the digital era, the importance of knowledge, and the discernment to use it wisely, cannot be overstated.

500 Words Essay on Importance of Knowledge

The primacy of knowledge.

Knowledge has long been recognized as a vital component of human progress, a catalyst for societal evolution and personal development. It is the backbone of civilization, a critical tool in our quest to understand the world and our place within it.

Knowledge and Empowerment

Knowledge bestows empowerment. It offers the ability to discern right from wrong, to make informed decisions, and to influence the world around us. It arms individuals with the capacity to question, challenge, and innovate. This power is not merely about personal growth; it radiates outward, affecting communities, societies, and, ultimately, the course of human history.

The Role of Knowledge in Social and Economic Progress

Knowledge is the cornerstone of economic and social progress. It fuels innovation, which in turn drives economic growth. Innovation is not the sole domain of science and technology but spans across all sectors, from healthcare to education, from the arts to governance. Knowledge is the engine of such innovation, fostering creativity and inventiveness.

Moreover, knowledge is a vital component in the fight against social inequality. It promotes social mobility by offering opportunities to those who might otherwise be denied them. Education, the primary vehicle for knowledge dissemination, is a critical equalizer, breaking down barriers and opening doors.

Knowledge, Critical Thinking, and Problem Solving

Knowledge cultivates critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It encourages individuals to analyze situations, identify potential solutions, and make informed choices. These skills are invaluable in an increasingly complex world where the ability to navigate ambiguity and uncertainty is crucial.

The Imperative of Lifelong Learning

In the 21st century, the importance of knowledge has been magnified by the rapid pace of change. The concept of lifelong learning has become a necessity rather than a luxury. The continuous acquisition of knowledge enables individuals to adapt to new circumstances, technologies, and ideas, ensuring they remain relevant and productive.

Knowledge and Ethical Responsibility

Finally, knowledge bears an ethical responsibility. It must be used wisely, with consideration for its potential impact on others and the world at large. Knowledge without wisdom can lead to harmful consequences. Hence, the pursuit of knowledge should always be accompanied by a commitment to ethical conduct and a sense of responsibility.

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essay about promoting knowledge

Essay on Knowledge for Students and Children

500+ words essay on knowledge.

Knowledge is understanding and awareness of something. It refers to the information, facts, skills, and wisdom acquired through learning and experiences in life. Knowledge is a very wide concept and has no end. Acquiring knowledge involves cognitive processes, communication, perception, and logic. It is also the human capacity to recognize and accept the truth. Knowledge can be used for positive as well as negative purposes. Thus knowledge can create and destroy at the same time. One may use knowledge for personal progress as well as the progress of the community, city, state, and nation. Some may use it for negative purposes that may not only harm individuals but can also harm the community.

essay on knowledge

Importance of Knowledge

* Knowledge is a success – In today’s world without education and the power of knowledge, it is not possible to succeed in life or even keep up with the fast-paced life. It is not just enough to have knowledge on a particular subject to succeed but it is also important to have knowledge about how to use it effectively to succeed. One should have knowledge about various aspects of a subject.

* Personal Development- Knowledge can last for a lifetime and it impacts our growth which influences everything in our life from relationships to work. Knowledge is important for personal growth and development . We can gain knowledge on everything that we find interesting like any dance form, art, architecture, history or just about anything for our personal development. It makes us wise enough to independently make our decisions in life. But it is important to adopt a positive mindset to become a constant learner only then it helps us progress and achieve our goals.

* Knowledge solves problems – problems in life which can be solved with the power of knowledge. Knowledge sharpens our skills like reasoning and problem-solving . A strong base of knowledge helps brains function more smoothly and effectively. We become smarter with the power of knowledge and solve problems more easily.

* Everyday Life- Knowledge is important and useful in day to day events. For example, if I have to buy air tickets online, I need to have knowledge about the various sites and their discounts, their terms & conditions or like online banking. If I don’t have knowledge then I end up paying more. So gaining knowledge is a constant process and is useful every single day.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

The process to increase knowledge

Open-Minded- We always learn something new by building on the knowledge that we have. We must always be open to accepting knowledge or information from anywhere we get. It may be from books, virtual media, friends, etc. To move on from one step to another we need to know more. Like in school we start from LKG, KG and then move on to 1st standard, 2nd standard and so on. It builds a strong base.

Reading Magazines- Reading helps to decode text and improves fluency to pronounce the speech sounds clear. Reading gives an idea about different topics and different views about them. One can get the actual global knowledge. Apart from that one can learn many new terms and phrase.

Communication- Shared knowledge allows you to communicate. Shared knowledge is important for communicating and understanding each other. When we discuss a certain topic with classmates, friends or relatives they have certain knowledge about it. So through communication, we get new ideas, facts and develops our knowledge. We can also identify what have we learned and what still we don’t know that helps us to clear our doubts later.

Watch documentaries or educational videos-  Discovery Channel, for example, provides excellent documentaries that keep you engaged. If you don’t like reading, this is an excellent alternative to getting your daily dose of knowledge while still relaxing in your couch!

The more knowledge we have the more power we possess. It is important for our personal and professional development and leads us to achieve success in life. Knowledge helps us in several ways but the best part is that it helps us understand ourselves as well as those around us better. It also helps us act wisely in different situations

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From Knowledge to Wisdom

The Key to Wisdom


Nicholas Maxwell University College London

Section 1 of " Arguing for Wisdom in the University: An Intellectual Autobiography ", Philosophia , vol 40, no. 4, 2012. Nearly forty years ago I discovered a profoundly significant idea - or so I believe. Since then, I have expounded and developed the idea in six books [1] and countless articles published in academic journals and other books. [2] I have talked about the idea in universities and at conferences all over the UK, in Europe, the USA and Canada. And yet, alas, despite all this effort, few indeed are those who have even heard of the idea. I have not even managed to communicate the idea to my fellow philosophers. What did I discover? Quite simply: the key to wisdom. For over two and a half thousand years, philosophy (which means "love of wisdom") has sought in vain to discover how humanity might learn to become wise - how we might learn to create an enlightened world. For the ancient Greek philosophers, Socrates, Plato and the rest, discovering how to become wise was the fundamental task for philosophy. In the modern period, this central, ancient quest has been laid somewhat to rest, not because it is no longer thought important, but rather because the quest is seen as unattainable. The record of savagery and horror of the last century is so extreme and terrible that the search for wisdom, more important than ever, has come to seem hopeless, a quixotic fantasy. Nevertheless, it is this ancient, fundamental problem, lying at the heart of philosophy, at the heart, indeed, of all of thought, morality, politics and life, that I have solved. Or so I believe. When I say I have discovered the key to wisdom, I should say, more precisely, that I have discovered the methodological key to wisdom. Or perhaps, more modestly, I should say that I have discovered that science contains, locked up in its astounding success in acquiring knowledge and understanding of the universe, the methodological key to wisdom. I have discovered a recipe for creating a kind of organized inquiry rationally designed and devoted to helping humanity learn wisdom, learn to create a more enlightened world. What we have is a long tradition of inquiry - extraordinarily successful in its own terms - devoted to acquiring knowledge and technological know-how. It is this that has created the modern world, or at least made it possible. But scientific knowledge and technological know-how are ambiguous blessings, as more and more people, these days, are beginning to recognize. They do not guarantee happiness. Scientific knowledge and technological know-how enormously increase our power to act. In endless ways, this vast increase in our power to act has been used for the public good - in health, agriculture, transport, communications, and countless other ways. But equally, this enhanced power to act can be used to cause human harm, whether unintentionally, as in environmental damage (at least initially), or intentionally, as in war. It is hardly too much to say that all our current global problems have come about because of science and technology. The appalling destructiveness of modern warfare and terrorism, vast inequalities in wealth and standards of living between first and third worlds, rapid population growth, environmental damage - destruction of tropical rain forests, rapid extinction of species, global warming, pollution of sea, earth and air, depletion of finite natural resources - all only exist today because of modern science and technology. Science and technology lead to modern industry and agriculture, to modern medicine and hygiene, and thus in turn to population growth, to modern armaments, conventional, chemical, biological and nuclear, to destruction of natural habitats, extinction of species, pollution, and to immense inequalities of wealth across the globe. Science without wisdom, we might say, is a menace. It is the crisis behind all the others. When we lacked our modern, terrifying powers to act, before the advent of science, lack of wisdom did not matter too much: we were bereft of the power to inflict too much damage on ourselves and the planet. Now that we have modern science, and the unprecedented powers to act that it has bequeathed to us, wisdom has become, not a private luxury, but a public necessity. If we do not rapidly learn to become wiser, we are doomed to repeat in the 21st century all the disasters and horrors of the 20th: the horrifyingly destructive wars, the dislocation and death of millions, the degradation of the world we live in. Only this time round it may all be much worse, as the population goes up, the planet becomes ever more crowded, oil and other resources vital to our way of life run out, weapons of mass destruction become more and more widely available for use, and deserts and desolation spread. The ancient quest for wisdom has become a matter of desperate urgency. It is hardly too much to say that the future of the world is at stake. But how can such a quest possibly meet with success? Wisdom, surely, is not something that we can learn and teach, as a part of our normal education, in schools and universities? This is my great discovery! Wisdom can be learnt and taught in schools and universities. It must be so learnt and taught. Wisdom is indeed the proper fundamental objective for the whole of the academic enterprise: to help humanity learn how to nurture and create a wiser world. But how do we go about creating a kind of education, research and scholarship that really will help us learn wisdom? Would not any such attempt destroy what is of value in what we have at present, and just produce hot air, hypocrisy, vanity and nonsense? Or worse, dogma and religious fundamentalism? What, in any case, is wisdom? Is not all this just an abstract philosophical fantasy? The answer, as I have already said, lies locked away in what may seem a highly improbably place: science! This will seem especially improbable to many of those most aware of environmental issues, and most suspicious of the role of modern science and technology in modern life. How can science contain the methodological key to wisdom when it is precisely this science that is behind so many of our current troubles? But a crucial point must be noted. Modern scientific and technological research has met with absolutely astonishing, unprecedented success, as long as this success is interpreted narrowly, in terms of the production of expert knowledge and technological know-how. Doubts may be expressed about whether humanity as a whole has made progress towards well being or happiness during the last century or so. But there can be no serious doubt whatsoever that science has made staggering intellectual progress in increasing expert knowledge and know-how, during such a period. It is this astonishing intellectual progress that makes science such a powerful but double-edged tool, for good and for bad. At once the question arises: Can we learn from the incredible intellectual progress of science how to achieve progress in other fields of human endeavour? Is scientific progress exportable, as it were, to other areas of life? More precisely, can the progress-achieving methods of science be generalized so that they become fruitful for other worthwhile, problematic human endeavours, in particular the supremely worthwhile, supremely problematic endeavour of creating a good and wise world? My great idea - that this can indeed be done - is not entirely new (as I was to learn after making my discovery). It goes back to the 18th century Enlightenment. This was indeed the key idea of the Enlightenment, especially the French Enlightenment: to learn from scientific progress how to achieve social progress towards an enlightened world. And the philosophes of the Enlightenment, men such as Voltaire, Diderot and Condorcet, did what they could to put this magnificent, profound idea into practice in their lives. They fought dictatorial power, superstition, and injustice with weapons no more lethal than those of argument and wit. They gave their support to the virtues of tolerance, openness to doubt, readiness to learn from criticism and from experience. Courageously and energetically they laboured to promote reason and enlightenment in personal and social life. Unfortunately, in developing the Enlightenment idea intellectually, the philosophes blundered. They botched the job. They developed the Enlightenment idea in a profoundly defective form, and it is this immensely influential, defective version of the idea, inherited from the 18th century, which may be called the "traditional" Enlightenment, that is built into early 21st century institutions of inquiry. Our current traditions and institutions of learning, when judged from the standpoint of helping us learn how to become more enlightened, are defective and irrational in a wholesale and structural way, and it is this which, in the long term, sabotages our efforts to create a more civilized world, and prevents us from avoiding the kind of horrors we have been exposed to during the last century. The task before us is thus not that of creating a kind of inquiry devoted to improving wisdom out of the blue, as it were, with nothing to guide us except two and a half thousand years of failed philosophical discussion. Rather, the task is the much more straightforward, practical and well-defined one of correcting the structural blunders built into academic inquiry inherited from the Enlightenment. We already have a kind of academic inquiry designed to help us learn wisdom. The problem is that the design is lousy. It is, as I have said, a botched job. It is like a piece of engineering that kills people because of faulty design - a bridge that collapses, or an aeroplane that falls out of the sky. A quite specific task lies before us: to diagnose the blunders we have inherited from the Enlightenment, and put them right. So here, briefly, is the diagnosis. The philosophes of the 18th century assumed, understandably enough, that the proper way to implement the Enlightenment programme was to develop social science alongside natural science. Francis Bacon had already stressed the importance of improving knowledge of the natural world in order to achieve social progress. The philosophes generalized this, holding that it is just as important to improve knowledge of the social world. Thus the philosophes set about creating the social sciences: history, anthropology, political economy, psychology, sociology. This had an immense impact. Throughout the 19th century the diverse social sciences were developed, often by non-academics, in accordance with the Enlightenment idea. Gradually, universities took notice of these developments until, by the mid 20th century, all the diverse branches of the social sciences, as conceived of by the Enlightenment, were built into the institutional structure of universities as recognized academic disciplines. The outcome is what we have today, knowledge-inquiry as we may call it, a kind of inquiry devoted in the first instance to the pursuit of knowledge. But, from the standpoint of creating a kind of inquiry designed to help humanity learn how to become enlightened and civilized, which was the original idea, all this amounts to a series of monumental blunders. In order to implement properly the basic Enlightenment idea of learning from scientific progress how to achieve social progress towards a civilized world, it is essential to get the following three things right. 1. The progress-achieving methods of science need to be correctly identified. 2. These methods need to be correctly generalized so that they become fruitfully applicable to any worthwhile, problematic human endeavour, whatever the aims may be, and not just applicable to the one endeavour of acquiring knowledge. 3. The correctly generalized progress-achieving methods then need to be exploited correctly in the great human endeavour of trying to make social progress towards an enlightened, civilized world. Unfortunately, the philosophes of the Enlightenment got all three points wrong. They failed to capture correctly the progress-achieving methods of natural science; they failed to generalize these methods properly; and, most disastrously of all, they failed to apply them properly so that humanity might learn how to become civilized by rational means. Instead of seeking to apply the progress-achieving methods of science, after having been appropriately generalized, to the task of creating a better world, the philosophes applied scientific method to the task of creating social science. Instead of trying to make social progress towards an enlightened world, they set about making scientific progress in knowledge of social phenomena. That the philosophes made these blunders in the 18th century is forgivable; what is unforgivable is that these blunders still remain unrecognized and uncorrected today, over two centuries later. Instead of correcting the blunders, we have allowed our institutions of learning to be shaped by them as they have developed throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, so that now the blunders are an all-pervasive feature of our world. The Enlightenment, and what it led to, has long been criticized, by the Romantic movement, by what Isaiah Berlin has called 'the counter-Enlightenment', and more recently by the Frankfurt school, by postmodernists and others. But these standard objections are, from my point of view, entirely missing the point. In particular, my idea is the very opposite of all those anti-rationalist, romantic and postmodernist views which object to the way the Enlightenment gives far too great an importance to natural science and to scientific rationality. My discovery is that what is wrong with the traditional Enlightenment, and the kind of academic inquiry we now possess derived from it - knowledge-inquiry - is not too much 'scientific rationality' but, on the contrary, not enough. It is the glaring, wholesale irrationality of contemporary academic inquiry, when judged from the standpoint of helping humanity learn how to become more civilized, that is the problem. But, the cry will go up, wisdom has nothing to do with reason. And reason has nothing to do with wisdom. On the contrary! It is just such an item of conventional 'wisdom' that my great idea turns on its head. Once both reason and wisdom have been rightly understood, and the irrationality of academic inquiry as it exists at present has been appreciated, it becomes obvious that it is precisely reason that we need to put into practice in our personal, social, institutional and global lives if our lives, at all these levels, are to become imbued with a bit more wisdom. We need, in short, a new, more rigorous kind of inquiry which has, as its basic task, to seek and promote wisdom. We may call this new kind of inquiry wisdom-inquiry. But what is wisdom? This is how I define it in From Knowledge to Wisdom, a book published some years ago now, in 1984, in which I set out my 'great idea' in some detail: "[wisdom is] the desire, the active endeavour, and the capacity to discover and achieve what is desirable and of value in life, both for oneself and for others. Wisdom includes knowledge and understanding but goes beyond them in also including: the desire and active striving for what is of value, the ability to see what is of value, actually and potentially, in the circumstances of life, the ability to experience value, the capacity to use and develop knowledge, technology and understanding as needed for the realization of value. Wisdom, like knowledge, can be conceived of, not only personal terms, but also in institutional or social terms. We can thus interpret [wisdom-inquiry] as asserting: the basic task of rational inquiry is to help us develop wiser ways of living, wiser institutions, customs and social relations, a wiser world." (From Knowledge to Wisdom, p. 66.) What, then, are the three blunders of the Enlightenment, still built into the intellectual/institutional structure of academia? First, the philosophes failed to capture correctly the progress-achieving methods of natural science. From D'Alembert in the 18th century to Karl Popper in the 20th, the widely held view, amongst both scientists and philosophers, has been (and continues to be) that science proceeds by assessing theories impartially in the light of evidence, no permanent assumption being accepted by science about the universe independently of evidence. Preference may be given to simple, unified or explanatory theories, but not in such a way that nature herself is, in effect, assumed to be simple, unified or comprehensible. This orthodox view, which I call standard empiricism is, however, untenable. If taken literally, it would instantly bring science to a standstill. For, given any accepted fundamental theory of physics, T, Newtonian theory say, or quantum theory, endlessly many empirically more successful rivals can be concocted which agree with T about observed phenomena but disagree arbitrarily about some unobserved phenomena, and successfully predict phenomena, in an ad hoc way, that T makes false predictions about, or no predictions. Physics would be drowned in an ocean of such empirically more successful rival theories. In practice, these rivals are excluded because they are disastrously disunified. Two considerations govern acceptance of theories in physics: empirical success and unity. In demanding unity, we demand of a fundamental physical theory that it ascribes the same dynamical laws to the phenomena to which the theory applies. But in persistently accepting unified theories, to the extent of rejecting disunified rivals that are just as, or even more, empirically successful, physics makes a big persistent assumption about the universe. The universe is such that all disunified theories are false. It has some kind of unified dynamic structure. It is physically comprehensible in the sense that explanations for phenomena exist to be discovered. But this untestable (and thus metaphysical) assumption that the universe is physically comprehensible is profoundly problematic. Science is obliged to assume, but does not know, that the universe is comprehensible. Much less does it know that the universe is comprehensible in this or that way. A glance at the history of physics reveals that ideas have changed dramatically over time. In the 17th century there was the idea that the universe consists of corpuscles, minute billiard balls, which interact only by contact. This gave way to the idea that the universe consists of point-particles surrounded by rigid, spherically symmetrical fields of force, which in turn gave way to the idea that there is one unified self-interacting field, varying smoothly throughout space and time. Nowadays we have the idea that everything is made up of minute quantum strings embedded in ten or eleven dimensions of space-time. Some kind of assumption along these lines must be made but, given the historical record, and given that any such assumption concerns the ultimate nature of the universe, that of which we are most ignorant, it is only reasonable to conclude that it is almost bound to be false. The way to overcome this fundamental dilemma inherent in the scientific enterprise is to construe physics as making a hierarchy of metaphysical assumptions concerning the comprehensibility and knowability of the universe, these assumptions asserting less and less as one goes up the hierarchy, and thus becoming more and more likely to be true, and more nearly such that their truth is required for science, or the pursuit of knowledge, to be possible at all. In this way a framework of relatively insubstantial, unproblematic, fixed assumptions and associated methods is created within which much more substantial and problematic assumptions and associated methods can be changed, and indeed improved, as scientific knowledge improves. Put another way, a framework of relatively unspecific, unproblematic, fixed aims and methods is created within which much more specific and problematic aims and methods evolve as scientific knowledge evolves. There is positive feedback between improving knowledge, and improving aims-and-methods, improving knowledge-about-how-to-improve-knowledge. This is the nub of scientific rationality, the methodological key to the unprecedented success of science. Science adapts its nature to what it discovers about the nature of the universe. This hierarchical conception of physics, which I call aim-oriented empiricism, can readily be generalized to take into account problematic assumptions associated with the aims of science having to with values, and the social uses or applications of science. It can be generalized so as to apply to the different branches of natural science. Different sciences have different specific aims, and so different specific methods although, throughout natural science there is the common meta-methodology of aim-oriented empiricism. So much for the first blunder of the traditional Enlightenment, and how to put it right. [3] Second, having failed to identify the methods of science correctly, the philosophes naturally failed to generalize these methods properly. They failed to appreciate that the idea of representing the problematic aims (and associated methods) of science in the form of a hierarchy can be generalized and applied fruitfully to other worthwhile enterprises besides science. Many other enterprises have problematic aims - problematic because aims conflict, and because what we seek may be unrealizable, undesirable, or both. Such enterprises, with problematic aims, would benefit from employing a hierarchical methodology, generalized from that of science, thus making it possible to improve aims and methods as the enterprise proceeds. There is the hope that, as a result of exploiting in life methods generalized from those employed with such success in science, some of the astonishing success of science might be exported into other worthwhile human endeavours, with problematic aims quite different from those of science. Third, and most disastrously of all, the philosophes failed completely to try to apply such generalized, hierarchical progress-achieving methods to the immense, and profoundly problematic enterprise of making social progress towards an enlightened, wise world. The aim of such an enterprise is notoriously problematic. For all sorts of reasons, what constitutes a good world, an enlightened, wise or civilized world, attainable and genuinely desirable, must be inherently and permanently problematic. Here, above all, it is essential to employ the generalized version of the hierarchical, progress-achieving methods of science, designed specifically to facilitate progress when basic aims are problematic. It is just this that the philosophes failed to do. Instead of applying the hierarchical methodology to social life, the philosophes sought to apply a seriously defective conception of scientific method to social science, to the task of making progress towards, not a better world, but to better knowledge of social phenomena. And this ancient blunder, developed throughout the 19th century by J.S. Mill, Karl Marx and many others, and built into academia in the early 20th century with the creation of the diverse branches of the social sciences in universities all over the world, is still built into the institutional and intellectual structure of academia today, inherent in the current character of social science. Properly implemented, in short, the Enlightenment idea of learning from scientific progress how to achieve social progress towards an enlightened world would involve developing social inquiry, not primarily as social science, but rather as social methodology, or social philosophy. A basic task would be to get into personal and social life, and into other institutions besides that of science - into government, industry, agriculture, commerce, the media, law, education, international relations - hierarchical, progress-achieving methods (designed to improve problematic aims) arrived at by generalizing the methods of science. A basic task for academic inquiry as a whole would be to help humanity learn how to resolve its conflicts and problems of living in more just, cooperatively rational ways than at present. The fundamental intellectual and humanitarian aim of inquiry would be to help humanity acquire wisdom - wisdom being, as I have already indicated, the capacity to realize (apprehend and create) what is of value in life, for oneself and others. One outcome of getting into social and institutional life the kind of aim-evolving, hierarchical methodology indicated above, generalized from science, is that it becomes possible for us to develop and assess rival philosophies of life as a part of social life, somewhat as theories are developed and assessed within science. Such a hierarchical methodology provides a framework within which competing views about what our aims and methods in life should be - competing religious, political and moral views - may be cooperatively assessed and tested against broadly agreed, unspecific aims (high up in the hierarchy of aims) and the experience of personal and social life. There is the possibility of cooperatively and progressively improving such philosophies of life (views about what is of value in life and how it is to be achieved) much as theories are cooperatively and progressively improved in science. Wisdom-inquiry, because of its greater rigour, has intellectual standards that are, in important respects, different from those of knowledge-inquiry. Whereas knowledge-inquiry demands that emotions and desires, values, human ideals and aspirations, philosophies of life be excluded from the intellectual domain of inquiry, wisdom-inquiry requires that they be included. In order to discover what is of value in life it is essential that we attend to our feelings and desires. But not everything we desire is desirable, and not everything that feels good is good. Feelings, desires and values need to be subjected to critical scrutiny. And of course feelings, desires and values must not be permitted to influence judgements of factual truth and falsity. Wisdom-inquiry embodies a synthesis of traditional Rationalism and Romanticism. It includes elements from both, and it improves on both. It incorporates Romantic ideals of integrity, having to do with motivational and emotional honesty, honesty about desires and aims; and at the same time it incorporates traditional Rationalist ideals of integrity, having to do with respect for objective fact, knowledge, and valid argument. Traditional Rationalism takes its inspiration from science and method; Romanticism takes its inspiration from art, from imagination, and from passion. Wisdom-inquiry holds art to have a fundamental rational role in inquiry, in revealing what is of value, and unmasking false values; but science, too, is of fundamental importance. What we need, for wisdom, is an interplay of sceptical rationality and emotion, an interplay of mind and heart, so that we may develop mindful hearts and heartfelt minds (as I put it in my first book What's Wrong With Science?). It is time we healed the great rift in our culture, so graphically depicted by C. P. Snow. The revolution we require - intellectual, institutional and cultural - if it ever comes about, will be comparable in its long-term impact to that of the Renaissance, the scientific revolution, or the Enlightenment. The outcome will be traditions and institutions of learning rationally designed to help us realize what is of value in life. There are a few scattered signs that this intellectual revolution, from knowledge to wisdom, is already under way. It will need, however, much wider cooperative support - from scientists, scholars, students, research councils, university administrators, vice chancellors, teachers, the media and the general public - if it is to become anything more than what it is at present, a fragmentary and often impotent movement of protest and opposition, often at odds with itself, exercising little influence on the main body of academic work. I can hardly imagine any more important work for anyone associated with academia than, in teaching, learning and research, to help promote this revolution. Notes [1] What's Wrong With Science? (Bran's Head Books, 1976), From Knowledge to Wisdom (Blackwell, 1984; 2nd edition, Pentire Press, 2007), The Comprehensibility of the Universe (Oxford University Press, 1998, paperback 2003), and The Human World in the Physical Universe: Consciousness, Free Will and Evolution (Rowman and Littlefield, 2001), Is Science Neurotic? (Imperial College Press, 2004), Cutting God in Half - And Putting the Pieces Together Again (Pentire Press, 2010). For critical discussion see L. McHenry, ed., Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom: Studies in the Philosophy of Nicholas Maxwell (Ontos Verlag, 2009).

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[2] See, for example, "Science, Reason, Knowledge and Wisdom: A Critique of Specialism", Inquiry 23, 1980, pp. 19-81; "What Kind of Inquiry Can Best Help Us Create a Good World?", Science, Technology and Human Values 17, 1992, pp. 205-227; "What the Task of Creating Civilization has to Learn from the Success of Modern Science: Towards a New Enlightenment", Reflections on Higher Education 4, 1992, pp. 139-157; "Can Humanity Learn to Become Civilized? The Crisis of Science without Civilization", Journal of Applied Philosophy 17, 2000, pp. 29-44; "A new conception of science", Physics World 13, no. 8, 2000, pp. 17-18; "From Knowledge to Wisdom: The Need for an Academic Revolution", London Review of Education, 5, 2007, pp. 97-115, reprinted in. R. Barnett and N. Maxwell, eds., Wisdom in the University (Routledge, 2008, pp. 1-19) "Do We Need a Scientific Revolution?", Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry, vol. 8, no. 3, September 2008, pp. 95-105. All my articles are available online here .

[3] For further details see my The Comprehensibility of the Universe: A New Conception of Science, Oxford University Press, 1998; Is Science Neurotic?, Imperial College Press, 2004; and From Knowledge to Wisdom, especially chs. 5, 9, and 2nd ed., ch. 14. Back to text

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Education Next

  • Vol. 24, No. 2

How Building Knowledge Boosts Literacy and Learning

essay about promoting knowledge

David Grissmer

essay about promoting knowledge

Richard Buddin

essay about promoting knowledge

Mark Berends

essay about promoting knowledge

Thomas G. White

essay about promoting knowledge

Daniel T. Willingham

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Jamie DeCoster

essay about promoting knowledge

Chelsea A.K. Duran

essay about promoting knowledge

Chris S. Hulleman

essay about promoting knowledge

William M. Murrah

essay about promoting knowledge

Tanya Evans


Educators and researchers have been fighting the reading wars for the last century, with battles see-sawing literacy instruction in American schools from phonics to whole language and, most recently, back to phonics again. Policymakers have entered the fray, after more than a quarter-century of stagnant reading scores in the United States. Over the last decade, 32 states and the District of Columbia have adopted new “science of reading” laws that require schools to use curricula and instructional techniques that are deemed “evidence-based.”

Such reading programs include direct instruction in phonics and reading comprehension skills, such as finding the main idea of a paragraph, and efforts to accelerate learning tend to double down on more of the same skill-building practice. But research increasingly points to another critical aspect of literacy: the role of student knowledge. For example, prior research by two of us found that a young child’s knowledge of the social and physical world is a strong predictor of their academic success in elementary school. And advocates for knowledge-based education often cite the so-called “baseball study” where students reading a passage about baseball who knew about the sport were far better at understanding and summarizing the story than students who didn’t, regardless of their general reading skills.

Knowledge-building reading curricula are rooted in these insights, and use materials and activities based on a sequence of integrated science and social studies topics, texts, and vocabulary. Yet the potential value of this approach is often an afterthought in state and district efforts to strengthen reading instruction, and the benefits to students of combining evidence-based curriculum with systematic efforts to build student knowledge have yet to be rigorously documented.

We conduct the first-ever experimental study of this topic, based on randomized kindergarten-enrollment lotteries in nine Colorado charter schools that use an interdisciplinary knowledge-based curriculum called Core Knowledge. To assess the long-term impact of experiencing a knowledge-building curriulum on student learning, we compares performance on statewide tests in grades 3–6 between kindergarten lottery winners who attended a Core Knowledge charter school with lottery losers who could not enroll.

We find that winning an enrollment lottery and enrolling in a Core Knowledge charter school boosted long-term reading achievement in 3rd to 6th grade by 16 percentile points, as compared to comparable applicants who did not win their enrollment lottery. The size of this gain is approximately equivalent to the difference between the mediocre performance of U.S. 13-year-olds on the 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study and that of top-scoring countries like Singapore and Finland. Our results are also notable in their contrast with other studies of reading interventions, which typically find small, short-term effects .

Students and teachers in many public elementary schools spend up to two hours each day on reading instruction. While the component skills of literacy are critical to student development and learning, our findings point to a missed opportunity to accelerate literacy by building knowledge at the same time. Skill building and knowledge accumulation are separate but complementary cognitive processes, and while the adage “skill begets skill” may be true, a fuller description of cognitive development could be “skill begets skill, knowledge begets knowledge, and skill combined with knowledge begets them both.”

Kindergarten Lotteries for “Core Knowledge” Charters

The Core Knowledge curriculum was created in the 1980s by E.D. Hirsch, Jr., a researcher and advocate of knowledge-building education. Its content and activities follow a planned sequence of the knowledge and skills students should accumulate and master in grades K–8 in all academic subjects and the arts. This “knowledge-based schooling” approach is rooted in the belief that a common base of shared knowledge is foundational for not just individual students’ reading comprehension abilities but also for our ability as a society to communicate and promote equal opportunity. An estimated 1,700 schools across the U.S. use the curriculum today, including more than 50 in Colorado.

To assess the impact of the Core Knowledge curriculum on student achievement, we look at nine oversubscribed Colorado charter schools that all use the curriculum, had been open for at least four years, and held random enrollment lotteries to register kindergarten students in either or both of the 2009–10 and 2010–11 school years. Our study includes 14 separate lotteries with 2,310 students, almost all of whom are from high- or middle-income families.

These families generally have a range of schooling options, including private schools, other charter schools, and public schools outside their district under Colorado’s open-enrollment law. About one in five students in our sample applied to multiple charter lotteries—usually two instead of one. Some 41 percent won at least one lottery, and 47 percent of winners enrolled in that school. In all, 475 lottery winners went on to attend a Core Knowledge charter, while 1,356 students did not win the lottery and attended school elsewhere. In analyzing the effects of attending a Core Knowledge charter, we take into account the fact that not all lottery winners actually enrolled.

Attrition and Family Choice

We base our analysis on the performance of lottery applicants on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARRC) reading and math tests in grades 3, 4, 5, and 6, as well as the 5th-grade science PARRC test. By looking at these scores, we can compare the performance of students who did and did not experience a knowledge-building curriculum over up to seven years of their schooling.

However, roughly 36 percent of students in our sample did not complete all scheduled PARCC tests through grade 6, and the attrition rate for students who did not win the enrollment lottery is 5 percentage points higher than for lottery winners. Detailed student data reveals three major factors at play. First, some students stop participating in Colorado’s PARCC testing because they move out of state, transfer to a different school, or are homeschooled. A second group of students don’t have test-score data because they are exempted as language learners or special-education students. Third, other students are off-track with their expected kindergarten cohort in later years because of delayed kindergarten entry (“redshirting”) or due to having skipped or repeated a grade.

To ensure that this attrition does not skew our results, we exclude from our analysis both the four lotteries with the highest rates of differential attrition between lottery winners and losers and the youngest applicants, who are more likely to be redshirted by their parents regardless of their lottery outcome. We also adjust our results for students’ gender, race or ethnicity, and eligibility for a free or reduced-price school lunch to ensure that any demographic differences between lottery winners and losers do not introduce bias.

Figure 1: Higher Achievement for Students at Core Knowledge Charter Schools

Accelerated Achievement

We find positive long-term effects on reading performance for students who are randomly selected by a kindergarten enrollment lottery and attend a Core Knowledge charter school. Across grades 3–6, these students score 47 percent of a standard deviation higher in reading than comparable lottery applicants who did not have a chance to enroll. This is equivalent to a gain of 16 percentile points for a typical student (see Figure 1). Students who attend a Core Knowledge charter also make outsized gains in science of 30 percent of a standard deviation, which is equivalent to a gain of 10 percentile points. Effects in math are positive, at about 16 percent of a standard deviation, but fall short of statistical significance.

Figure 2: Bigger Benefits for Females

The effects are slightly larger for female students than males (see Figure 2). In reading, female Core Knowledge charter students score 50 percent of a standard deviation higher compared to 44 percent for males, for a gain 17 of percentile points compared to 15 percentile points for males. Females gain about 12 percentile points in science and 9 percentile points in math, while males gain 6 percentile points in science and experience no gains in math. We also look at effects by student grade level and find no upward or downward trend, suggesting the effects may have stabilized by 4th grade (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Effects on Reading by Student Grade

While prior non-experimental research has documented stronger reading performance among students who already have knowledge about a topic, our analysis shows positive long-term impacts in reading from systematically building student knowledge over time. In our view, these results suggest that the “procedural skills” approach that has dominated reading comprehension instruction over the last 30 years in public schools is less effective than a “knowledge-based” approach that teaches skills and also is designed to build a body of knowledge as the main mechanism for increasing comprehension.

These findings also build on the body of evidence linking students’ levels of general knowledge to achievement in reading, science, and math. Research also shows that levels of general knowledge are strongly correlated with socio-economic status and parental levels of education. However, unlike these factors, knowledge is malleable through curricular choices. The intervention we study, where students experience seven years of a knowledge-building curriculum, appears to set off a long-term, compounding process whereby improved reading comprehension leads to increased knowledge, and increased knowledge leads to even better comprehension.

A Call to Build Knowledge About “Knowledge”

In addition to informing current-day decision-making, we believe these results should inspire a new research and policy agenda to measure and track students’ knowledge development and understand the mechanisms involved in knowledge-building curricula. The effects our study finds are similar in pattern and magnitude to earlier non-experimental evidence, which suggests that gains in students’ general knowledge could have a larger effect on future achievement than similar gains in more widely studied non-cognitive domains, such as executive function, visual-spatial and fine motor skills, and social and emotional development.

The potential benefits of knowledge-building curricula could be far-reaching. The compounding process our analysis reveals would occur not only in reading, but also across all subjects to the extent that they depend primarily on reading comprehension for learning. Moreover, these achievement gains across all subjects would likely extend into future years, as increased comprehension in one year leads to increased knowledge and comprehension in the next, and so on. We believe that these curricula could also increase students’ educational attainment and future labor market success.

However, elevating student knowledge to a more central place and higher priority in research and policy will require a significant conceptual shift—the term “building knowledge” does not readily trigger a conceptual map linking the intervention to higher achievement, unlike common interventions like reducing class size, extending the school day, and raising teacher pay.

Well-designed measures of student knowledge should be considered as an important addition to other national measures for students in elementary grades. To be sure, they will carry an additional challenge. Any definition and measures of “general knowledge” will need both scientific validity and political viability at a moment when attempts to ban library books and shape course content are on the rise. Attempting to define what all public-school students should know will undoubtably trigger debates and a variety of viewpoints. However, the evidence points to building knowledge as a critical foundation of student literacy with potentially lifelong effects. The benefits of skillful reading and broad knowledge should be a shared starting point, from which a stronger approach to reading instruction can grow.

David Grissmer is research professor in the School of Education & Human Development at the University of Virginia, where Richard Buddin is education consultant, Jamie DeCoster and Tanya Evans are research assistant professors, and Chris S. Hulleman is research professor. Thomas G. White is a former senior researcher at the School of Education & Human Development. Daniel T. Willingham is professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. Chelsea A.K. Duran is a postdoctoral fellow at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Mark Berends is professor at the University of Notre Dame. William M. Murrah is associate professor at Auburn University.

This article appeared in the Spring 2024 issue of Education Next . Suggested citation format:

Grissmer, D., Buddin, R., Berends, M., White, T.G., Willingham, D.T., DeCoster, J., Duran, C.A.K., Hulleman, C.S., Murrah, W.M., and Evans, T. (2024). How Building Knowledge Boosts Literacy and Learning: First causal study finds outsized impacts at “Core Knowledge” schools . Education Next , 24(2), 52-57.

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Vol. 24, No. 3

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Better Than a Video Game

Current practice favors choice and levels. But when students all read the same book together, the satisfaction can be surprising.

by Arthur Unobskey

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A proposal for promoting useful knowledge, 14 may 1743, a proposal for promoting useful knowledge.

Broadside: Yale University Library 8

A proposal Franklin drafted in 1743 to found an academy in Philadelphia, he wrote in his autobiography, came to nothing and was laid aside. “I succeeded better the next Year, 1744, in proposing and establishing a Philosophical Society.” 9 Franklin did take a leading part in founding this Society, but the implications that it was his idea and that the Society flourished are not fully supported by the facts.

The botanist John Bartram seems to have been the first in Philadelphia to propose a learned society. 10 He had been corresponding for a decade with naturalists like Gronovius, Mark Catesby, and Sir Hans Sloane in Europe and Cadwallader Colden, John Clayton, and John Mitchell in America. Of all the Philadelphia philosophers, except James Logan, he was probably the best known beyond his own city. Early in 1739 he asked Peter Collinson’s advice about the formation of a society or even an academy where “most ingenious and curious men” might communicate knowledge of “natural secrets arts and syances.” Collinson realized that there were not yet enough learned men in Philadelphia—Bartram had admitted as much—and pointed out that “to draw learned strangers to you, to teach sciences, requires salaries and good encouragement,” which were lacking. 11 Meanwhile, he observed, the Library offered many of the advantages of an academy. 1 Bartram, discouraged, seems to have done no more for several years, but in 1743, with Franklin, whose interest in scientific matters was growing, he took the matter up again. Franklin now wrote a proposal for a learned society which embodied both Bartram’s ideas and his own.

The immediate response was encouraging. Colden’s warm approval determined Franklin “to proceed in the Affair very soon.” 2 The Society was organized, probably early in 1744. By March 27, when Bartram sent Colden “one of our proposals,” there had been three meetings. 3 Several persons from neighboring provinces were elected to membership; others expressed interest; and a few, in response to the Proposal’s invitation, sent scientific papers. Only James Logan held aloof. “I tould Benjamin that I believed he [Logan] would not incourage it,” Bartram explained to Colden; “we should have been pleased with his name at the top of our List, as his person in our meetings. However we resolved that his not favouring the design should not hinder our attempt and if he would not go along with us we would Jog along without him.” 4

Stout words were not enough. The first enthusiasm soon passed off. “The Members of our Society here are very idle Gentlemen,” Franklin complained to Colden, August 15, 1745; “they will take no Pains.” Colden commented later that if some had been lazy, others were “too officious.” In October Bartram, Franklin, and Thomas Bond were talking of “carrying it on with more dilligence than ever which we may very easily do if we could but exchange the time that is spent in the Club, Chess and Coffee House for the Curious amusements of natural observations.” 5 The Society was already moribund by the time Bartram began receiving inquiries about it from his European friends.

But Franklin did not give up easily. He jumped at Colden’s suggestion of publishing an American philosophical miscellany which would include the papers that had been submitted to the Society and others which such a periodical might be expected to attract. These plans, also, came to nothing. 6 Franklin was still clinging to the idea of a learned society in 1751 when he solicited Collinson’s influence to get him the office of deputy postmaster general for America: one of the beneficial results of his appointment to that post, he pointed out, was that it “would enable me to execute a Scheme long since form’d, of which I send you enclos’d a Copy, and which I hope would soon produce something agreeable to you and to all Lovers of Useful Knowledge.” 7

Philadelphia, May 14, 1743.

The English are possess’d of a long Tract of Continent, from Nova Scotia to Georgia, extending North and South thro’ different Climates, having different Soils, producing different Plants, Mines and Minerals, and capable of different Improvements, Manufactures, &c.

The first Drudgery of Settling new Colonies, which confines the Attention of People to mere Necessaries, is now pretty well over; and there are many in every Province in Circumstances that set them at Ease, and afford Leisure to cultivate the finer Arts, and improve the common Stock of Knowledge. To such of these who are Men of Speculation, many Hints must from time to time arise, many Observations occur, which if well-examined, pursued and improved, might produce Discoveries to the Advantage of some or all of the British Plantations, or to the Benefit of Mankind in general.

But as from the Extent of the Country such Persons are widely separated, and seldom can see and converse or be acquainted with each other, so that many useful Particulars remain uncommunicated, die with the Discoverers, and are lost to Mankind; it is, to remedy this Inconvenience for the future, proposed,

That One Society be formed of Virtuosi or ingenious Men residing in the several Colonies, to be called The American Philosophical Society; who are to maintain a constant Correspondence.

That Philadelphia being the City nearest the Centre of the Continent-Colonies, communicating with all of them northward and southward by Post, and with all the Islands by Sea, and having the Advantage of a good growing Library, be the Centre of the Society.

That at Philadelphia there be always at least seven Members, viz. a Physician, a Botanist, a Mathematician, a Chemist, a Mechanician, a Geographer, and a general Natural Philosopher, besides a President, Treasurer and Secretary.

That these Members meet once a Month, or oftner, at their own Expence, to communicate to each other their Observations, Experiments, &c. to receive, read and consider such Letters, Communications, or Queries as shall be sent from distant Members; to direct the Dispersing of Copies of such Communications as are valuable, to other distant Members, in order to procure their Sentiments thereupon, &c.

That the Subjects of the Correspondence be, All new-discovered Plants, Herbs, Trees, Roots, &c. their Virtues, Uses, &c. Methods of Propagating them, and making such as are useful, but particular to some Plantations, more general. Improvements of vegetable Juices, as Cyders, Wines, &c. New Methods of Curing or Preventing Diseases. All new-discovered Fossils in different Countries, as Mines, Minerals, Quarries, &c. New and useful Improvements in any Branch of Mathematicks. New Discoveries in Chemistry, such as Improvements in Distillation, Brewing, Assaying of Ores, &c. New Mechanical Inventions for saving Labour; as Mills, Carriages, &c. and for Raising and Conveying of Water, Draining of Meadows, &c. All new Arts, Trades, Manufactures, &c. that may be proposed or thought of. Surveys, Maps and Charts of particular Parts of the Sea-coasts, or Inland Countries; Course and Junction of Rivers and great Roads, Situation of Lakes and Mountains, Nature of the Soil and Productions, &c. New Methods of Improving the Breed of useful Animals, Introducing other Sorts from foreign Countries. New Improvements in Planting, Gardening, Clearing Land, &c. And all philosophical Experiments that let Light into the Nature of Things, tend to increase the Power of Man over Matter, and multiply the Conveniencies or Pleasures of Life.

That a Correspondence already begun by some intended Members, shall be kept up by this Society with the Royal Society of London, and with the Dublin Society .

That every Member shall have Abstracts sent him Quarterly, of every Thing valuable communicated to the Society’s Secretary at Philadelphia; free of all Charge except the Yearly Payment hereafter mentioned.

That by Permission of the Postmaster-General, such Communications pass between the Secretary of the Society and the Members, Postage-free.

That for defraying the Expence of such Experiments as the Society shall judge proper to cause to be made, and other contingent Charges for the common Good, every Member send a Piece of Eight per Annum to the Treasurer, at Philadelphia, to form a Common Stock, to be disburs’d by Order of the President with the Consent of the Majority of the Members that can conveniently be consulted thereupon, to such Persons and Places where and by whom the Experiments are to be made, and otherwise as there shall be Occasion; of which Disbursements an exact Account shall be kept, and communicated yearly to every Member.

That at the first Meetings of the Members at Philadelphia, such Rules be formed for Regulating their Meetings and Transactions for the General Benefit, as shall be convenient and necessary; to be afterwards changed and improv’d as there shall be Occasion, wherein due Regard is to be had to the Advice of distant Members.

That at the End of every Year, Collections be made and printed, of such Experiments, Discoveries, Improvements, &c. as may be thought of publick Advantage: And that every Member have a Copy sent him.

That the Business and Duty of the Secretary be, To receive all Letters intended for the Society, and lay them before the President and Members at their Meetings; to abstract, correct and methodize such Papers, &c. as require it, and as he shall be directed to do by the President, after they have been considered, debated and digested in the Society; to enter Copies thereof in the Society’s Books, and make out Copies for distant Members; to answer their Letters by Direction of the President, and keep Records of all material Transactions of the Society, &c.

Benjamin Franklin, the Writer of this Proposal, offers himself to serve the Society as their Secretary, ’till they shall be provided with one more capable.

8 .  There are transcripts of this document in APS and Royal Society of Arts, London.

9 .  Par. Text edit., p. 278.

10 .  John Bartram (1699–1777), a Quaker farmer and self-taught botanist, began a lifelong correspondence with Peter Collinson, the English Quaker botanist, about 1733. Through Collinson he established contact with leading scientists in England and the Continent and became justly famous among them. His published accounts of extensive field trips throughout the West and South, and the botanical garden he established at Kingsessing, near Philadelphia, where he carried on pioneer experiments in hybridization, helped to earn for him Linnaeus’ praise as the greatest contemporary “natural botanist” in the world. George III appointed him Botanist to the King in 1765 with an annual stipend of £50. DAB; Darlington, Memorials; Francis D. West, “John Bartram and the American Philosophical Society,” Pa. Hist. , XXIII (1956), 463–6.

The idea for a learned society may have come to Bartram from his friend Cadwallader Colden of New York, who had proposed a similar “Voluntary Society for the advancing of Knowledge” to Dr. William Douglass of Boston in 1728. Colden Paps. , I , 272–3. The history of this society of 1743 is clearly and fully related in Brooke Hindle, The Pursuit of Science in Revolutionary America, 1735–1789 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1956), pp. 67–73, and Carl Van Doren, “The Beginnings of the American Philosophical Society,” APS Proc. , LXXXVII (1944), 277–89.

11 .  Collinson to Bartram, July 10, 1739, Darlington, Memorials , p. 132.

1 .  This aspect of the Library is developed by Dorothy F. Grimm, “Franklin’s Scientific Institution,” Pa. Hist. , XXIII (1956), 437–62.

2 .  BF to Colden, Nov. 4, 1743, below, p. 387.

3 .  Bartram’s letter to Colden is written on the back of the folio broadside of the Proposal in Yale Univ. Lib. BF franked the sheet for mailing.

4 .  Bartram to Colden, April 29, 1744, quoted by West in Pa. Hist. , xxiii, 465–6.

5 .  Bartram to Colden, Oct. 4, 1745, Colden Paps. , III , 160; Colden to Bartram, Nov. 7, 1745, Darlington, Memorials , p. 330.

6 .  Colden to BF , Dec. 1744, below, p. 446; also BF to Colden, Nov. 28, 1745 ; and Oct. 16, 1746 .

7 .  BF to Collinson, May 21, 1751 .

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Promoting Literacy to Students: The Challenges and the Solutions Proposal Essay

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The issue of literacy among students has gained considerable topicality since recently. Because of its provoking matter and the challenging problems, it is worth researching. With the help of efficient solutions, literacy among students can be increased. Thus, basing the research on the theory of phonetic awareness, one can presume that the roots of low literacy rates are going to be found and that the most efficient means of improving literacy rates are going to be found.

Hence, the purpose of the given study is to define the major obstacles which prevent modern teaching from providing efficient knowledge about the language and the way it works. In addition, the study aims at searching for the probable solutions for the given issue and raising the literacy levels among people, as well as finding the ways to establish the means to teach the required rules of the English language in future efficiently.

It is worth mentioning that the given research is based on solid theoretical basis and makes efficient use of the relevant sources. The research focuses on the ideas offered by National Institute for Literacy (2011) in the book Put reading first: The research building blocks for teaching children to read .

Explaining the basics about the way people acquire the necessary literacy skills, the book provides an all-embracing overview of the practices which are required to make people more literate. According to the results of the research conducted by the National Institute for Literacy, it is necessary to teach the basic literacy skills at a very early age; hence, a very specific solution concerning the ideas for a training program for young children are going to be suggested.

However, the other source used in the given research should also be given credit to for its extensive descriptions of the ways in which literacy can be enhanced. In his book Literacy: Help students construct their meaning , Cooper (2011) offers a large set of various practices which can lead to a considerable increase in literacy level. With the help of the colorful descriptions and striking examples, the author shows the way a child’s brain works, thus, helping to develop the which activities will enhance the students’ literacy.

At present, the hypothesis for the given research concerns the active promotion of phonetic awareness. Once enhancing the students’ knowledge on phonetics, a teacher can expect an increase in literacy levels.

The research is going to be designed in such a way so that the design of certain activities based on a corresponding theory should be supported with a real-life evidence (e.g., opinion polls held among teachers and the statistic data on the students’ efficiency).

However, it must be added that the research also has its limitations. Since the issue concerns the general level of literacy, the specifics of each child are not going to be taken into consideration. However, average data will still be of great help in offering solutions for the problem.

Thus, it can be considered that the given research is going to be rather significant, since the issue presented above is a serious problem for the modern society. Once learning how to encourage children to read more, thus, learning more about various aspects of written language subconsciously, people will be able to pass to a different level of social development, creating the society where people are going to learn the basic principles of literacy since their early childhood.

Reference List

Cooper, J. D., et al. (2011) Literacy: Help students construct their meaning . Thousand Oaks, CA: Cengage Learning.

National Institute for Literacy. (2011) . Put reading first: The research building blocks for teaching children to read. Washington, DC: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and U. S. Department of Education. Web.

  • Literacy Theories in Action
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  • Phonological and Phonemic Awareness and Literacy Development
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IvyPanda. (2019, May 19). Promoting Literacy to Students: The Challenges and the Solutions.

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IvyPanda . "Promoting Literacy to Students: The Challenges and the Solutions." May 19, 2019.

An Indigenous Academic Perspective to Preserving and Promoting Indigenous Knowledge and Traditions: A Fiji Case Study

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The preservation, protection and promotion of the traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of local and indigenous communities (TK) is of key importance, particularly for developing counties. Their rich endowment of TK and biodiversity plays a critical role in their health care, food security, culture, religion, identity, environment, sustainable development and trade.

But this valuable asset is at risk in may parts of the world, and there are concerns that this knowledge is being used and claimed by third parties, with few of the benefits being shared with the original TK-holders and without their prior informed consent. While such concerns have pushed TK to the forefront of the international agenda, the best ways of addressing the range of issues related to its preservation, protection, further development and sustainable use are not yet fully clear.

  • What is the role of TK, particularly in the health care and agriculture sectors?
  • Why and how should TK be protected?
  • How can TK best be harnessed for development and trade?

The answers to these questions are evolving as experiences are gained and shared. Moreover, as the types of TK, and related concerns and objectives, are unique to each country and community, solutions must also be tailored to local circumstances. By presenting a wide range of experiences and perspectives on this subject, this book provides the reader with ample food for thought in designing such solutions.

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Library & Information Science Education Network

Empowering Lifelong Learning: The Vital Role of Libraries in Today’s Society

Md. Ashikuzzaman

Introduction: The world we live in today demands continuous learning and adaptability, both professionally and personally. Lifelong learning has transcended the confines of formal education , becoming a fundamental principle for personal growth, career advancement, and societal development. At the core of this transformative paradigm is an age-old institution that has stood the test of time- the library.

Libraries, with their rich history dating back centuries, have constantly adapted to the evolving needs of society. These institutions have transformed from simple repositories of books into dynamic knowledge centers, embracing technology, fostering inclusivity, and championing the cause of lifelong learning. They are no longer confined to the role of passive custodians of knowledge; libraries have become active enablers and catalysts for education throughout one’s life .

This article explores libraries’ profound and critical role in empowering lifelong learning in contemporary society. We will unravel the layers of innovation, community engagement, digital integration, and educational programming that characterize modern libraries. They are not merely repositories of information but vibrant spaces that facilitate learning, spark curiosity, and provide equal opportunities for all to access knowledge.

1.1 The Lifelong Learning Paradigm

The adage “learning is a lifelong journey” has never been more relevant in a world that never ceases to evolve. Lifelong learning, a concept that emphasizes the ongoing acquisition of knowledge and skills, is crucial for personal and professional growth in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing society. It transcends the boundaries of formal education and enables individuals to adapt, innovate, and remain relevant throughout their lives.

Lifelong learning is a holistic approach to education encompassing various forms of learning, including formal education, informal experiences, self-directed learning, and more. It begins with early childhood education, nurtured by parents and educators who lay the foundation for future learning. However, it does not end with graduation; it continues through adulthood and into the golden years.

This paradigm shift acknowledges that learning is not confined to a specific age or stage of life. Instead, it is an ongoing process that provides opportunities for personal development, skill enhancement, and broadening horizons. Lifelong learning instills a mindset of curiosity, critical thinking, adaptability, and resilience, traits essential for success in today’s dynamic world.

The advantages of embracing lifelong learning are vast and encompass all aspects of life. Here are some key benefits:

  • Lifelong learning keeps individuals updated with advancements in their respective fields. It enhances employability, expands career opportunities, and helps stay ahead in a competitive job market.
  • Learning new skills and gaining knowledge provides a sense of achievement and satisfaction. It contributes to personal growth, boosts self-esteem, and enriches life experiences.
  • Lifelong learners are better equipped to adapt to change and navigate uncertainties. They possess the resilience to bounce back from setbacks and view challenges as opportunities for growth.
  • Continuously learning and exposing oneself to diverse ideas fosters creativity and innovative thinking. Lifelong learners often catalyze groundbreaking discoveries and advancements in various domains.
  • Lifelong learning opportunities encourage social engagement and networking, leading to enriched relationships and a broader understanding of diverse perspectives.

1.2 Access to Lifelong Learning:

Lifelong learning, often regarded as the cornerstone of personal growth and societal progress, has leaped into the digital realm, revolutionizing how knowledge is acquired and skills are honed throughout one’s lifetime. With the advent of technology and the rise of the internet, access to lifelong learning has become more democratized and widespread, breaking down barriers and empowering minds irrespective of location, age, or economic circumstances.

  • The Digital Era: A Gateway to Learning Opportunities In the digital era, access to lifelong learning has been dramatically democratized, making knowledge accessible to a global audience. Online platforms, educational websites, and mobile applications offer various courses, tutorials, and educational materials in diverse fields. From academic subjects to professional skills, from arts and humanities to science and technology, learners can choose from many options that suit their interests and goals. These platforms provide flexibility in terms of scheduling, allowing individuals to learn at their own pace and convenience. Whether someone wants to upskill for a job, explore a hobby, or dive into a new academic discipline, the digital realm offers the tools and resources to facilitate this ongoing learning journey.
  • Online Courses and E-Learning Platforms Online courses by renowned universities, institutions, and even individual educators have gained immense popularity. Platforms like Coursera, edX, Udemy, Khan Academy, and LinkedIn Learning host courses taught by experts worldwide. These platforms provide diverse subjects, from data science to music theory, enabling individuals to tailor their learning experiences to their unique preferences and aspirations. Furthermore, e-learning platforms often offer certifications upon course completion, enhancing one’s professional credentials and employability. This incentivizes individuals to invest in their continuous learning journey, reinforcing that learning is a lifelong endeavor.
  • Open Educational Resources (OER) and Public Libraries Open Educational Resources (OER), such as textbooks, articles, and educational videos, are accessible online. These resources break down financial barriers to education and provide high-quality educational materials to learners globally. Initiatives like OpenStax and Project Gutenberg offer access to a vast repository of textbooks and literature, enabling individuals to educate themselves on various subjects. Public libraries also play a significant role in providing access to lifelong learning. Libraries have evolved into hubs of information and learning, offering physical books and digital resources, e-books, audiobooks, and online databases. They serve as inclusive spaces where communities can access knowledge and participate in various educational programs and workshops.
  • Bridging the Digital Divide While the digital revolution has significantly expanded access to lifelong learning, it’s essential to acknowledge the digital divide that still exists. Not everyone has equal internet access or the necessary digital literacy skills. Bridging this divide requires concerted efforts from governments, organizations, and communities to ensure equitable access to online resources and technology for all individuals.
  • Empowering the Future Access to lifelong learning has transcended traditional barriers, paving the way for a future where education is continuous and accessible to all. As technology advances and initiatives are implemented to bridge gaps in access, we can expect even greater inclusivity and empowerment through lifelong learning. With the world at our fingertips, the possibilities for continuous growth and knowledge acquisition are limitless. Let us embrace this age of access to lifelong learning and empower minds to flourish throughout their lifetime.

1.3 Cultivating a Culture of Lifelong Learning:

Cultivating a culture of lifelong learning goes beyond individual self-improvement; it is about fostering an environment where continuous learning is celebrated, encouraged, and accessible to all. Such a culture enhances personal and professional development and contributes to the progress of communities and nations.

1. Understanding the Importance:

Lifelong learning acknowledges that education is not confined to formal institutions and a specific period of life. It emphasizes that learning is a lifelong journey, and every experience, whether formal or informal, contributes to personal growth and societal advancement. By understanding the importance of continuous learning, we can lay the foundation for a culture that values knowledge acquisition at all stages of life.

2. Encouraging Lifelong Learning:

  • Cultivating a culture of lifelong learning begins with nurturing curiosity. Encourage individuals, especially children, to ask questions, explore new topics, and seek answers. Curiosity is the driving force behind learning.
  • Ensure that education is accessible to everyone. This includes equitable access to quality formal education and access to resources like books, libraries, and digital learning platforms.
  • Acknowledge and value informal learning experiences. People can gain valuable knowledge and skills through hobbies, travel, volunteering, and everyday life. Celebrate these experiences as opportunities for growth.
  • Encourage the belief that dedication and hard work can develop abilities and intelligence. A growth mindset fosters resilience and a willingness to embrace challenges.
  • Create opportunities for learning in various settings, such as workplaces, community centers, and online platforms. Offer workshops, seminars, and courses that cater to diverse interests and needs.
  • Employers can play a significant role in promoting lifelong learning by offering training and development programs, mentorship opportunities, and a supportive learning culture within the workplace.

3. Education for All Ages:

Cultivating a culture of lifelong learning means recognizing that learning knows no age limits. It involves creating pathways for individuals to return to education at any point, whether to pursue new careers, acquire new skills, or satisfy intellectual curiosity. Higher education institutions can offer flexible programs and support services to accommodate adult learners, ensuring that education remains a lifelong pursuit.

4. Benefits for Society

A culture of lifelong learning has numerous societal benefits:

  • Lifelong learners are more likely to adapt to change and contribute to innovation, making societies more resilient in facing challenges.
  • A highly skilled and adaptable workforce drives economic growth, attracting businesses and investment.
  • Lifelong learning fosters inclusivity by providing opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds to participate in education and contribute to society.
  • Informed citizens are more likely to participate in civic activities, making informed decisions that benefit their communities.

Cultivating a culture of lifelong learning is a collective endeavor that involves individuals, families, communities, educational institutions, and governments. By nurturing curiosity, providing access to education, and recognizing the value of continuous learning, we can create a society that thrives on knowledge, innovation, and personal growth. In such a culture, pursuing learning becomes a lifelong adventure, and the seeds of knowledge continue to flourish, benefiting individuals and society.

1.4 The Impact of Libraries on Lifelong Learning:

Libraries have stood as beacons of knowledge and enlightenment for centuries, serving as community hubs that democratize access to information, education, and the joy of reading. Beyond their traditional role as repositories of books, libraries have evolved into dynamic learning centers, playing a pivotal role in promoting lifelong learning. The profound impact of libraries on lifelong learning is a testament to their enduring significance in the modern world.

  • A Repository of Knowledge: Libraries are treasure troves of knowledge, housing an extensive array of books, periodicals, journals, and other informational resources. These resources cover a vast spectrum of subjects and disciplines, allowing individuals to delve into diverse topics and cultivate a broad understanding of the world. This accessibility to a plethora of knowledge nurtures intellectual curiosity and fosters a love for learning from an early age, setting the stage for a lifelong education journey.
  • Early Literacy and Lifelong Learning: Libraries serve as nurturing grounds for early literacy, playing a crucial role in fostering a love for reading and learning among young children. Storytelling sessions, interactive programs, and reading initiatives organized by libraries help children develop essential literacy skills, setting a solid foundation for their educational journey. By instilling a passion for reading and learning in the early years, libraries encourage a lifelong habit of continuous exploration and intellectual growth.
  • Adult Education and Skill Enhancement: Libraries support adult education and skill enhancement throughout one’s life. They offer resources and programs catering to adult learners, providing opportunities for skill development, career advancement, and personal growth. Workshops, seminars, and courses organized by libraries help adults acquire new skills, stay updated with industry trends, and adapt to the changing job market, reinforcing the concept of lifelong learning.
  • Digital Transformation: Libraries in the Modern Era: Now, libraries have embraced technological advancements, expanding their reach and impact. Digital libraries and online platforms provide an extensive collection of e-books, audiobooks, educational videos, and interactive learning modules, making information accessible anytime and anywhere. This digital transformation has democratized learning, allowing individuals to engage in lifelong learning beyond the physical constraints of a traditional library.
  • Community Engagement and Inclusivity: Libraries promote community engagement and inclusivity, ensuring diverse populations can access educational resources and opportunities. They actively reach out to underserved communities, providing tailored programs and services to bridge educational gaps. By focusing on inclusivity, libraries empower individuals from all walks of life to embark on a lifelong learning journey, contributing to a more informed and educated society.
  • Measuring Impact and Future Prospects: The impact of libraries on lifelong learning is profound and enduring, yet quantifying this impact can be a complex endeavor. Various measures such as user engagement, program participation, literacy rates, and community feedback offer insights into the influence of libraries on lifelong learning outcomes. As libraries continue to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of society, measuring and understanding their impact will pave the way for innovative strategies to enhance lifelong learning opportunities.

Libraries are vital catalysts for lifelong learning, enriching lives, and empowering communities through education, knowledge, and inclusivity. Their evolving role as dynamic learning centers underscores the enduring importance of libraries in promoting a culture of continuous learning. As society advances, libraries will continue to shape and nurture the minds of individuals, ensuring that the pursuit of knowledge remains an everlasting voyage.

1.5 The Crucial Role of Libraries in Fostering Early Childhood Literacy and Lifelong _ Learning:

Libraries, often seen as quiet sanctuaries of books, are, in fact, bustling centers of activity and learning, especially for young minds embarking on their educational journey. The role of libraries in fostering early childhood literacy and setting the foundation for lifelong learning cannot be overstated. These community hubs play a pivotal role in shaping a love for learning from the beginning of a child’s life, setting them on a path of continuous exploration and education.

  • A Gateway to Books and Imagination: Libraries are the first encounter many children have with the magical world of books. They provide an extensive collection of age-appropriate books, captivating stories, and vibrant illustrations that capture a child’s imagination. This exposure to literature at an early age cultivates a love for reading, sparking curiosity and laying the groundwork for a lifelong relationship with books.
  • Early Literacy Programs and Storytelling Sessions: Libraries organize interactive early literacy programs and engaging storytelling sessions for young children. These programs enhance language development, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. Through rhymes, songs, interactive stories, and playful activities, children are introduced to the joy of language, making the learning process enjoyable and stimulating.
  • Parent-Child Bonding and Education: Libraries often encourage parental involvement through family reading programs. Parents are encouraged to read to their children, promoting bonding and language acquisition. Additionally, libraries provide resources and guidance to parents on early childhood development, offering a valuable support system for families in nurturing their child’s cognitive and social growth.
  • Educational Play Spaces: Modern libraries have transformed into dynamic educational spaces featuring play corners and interactive areas dedicated to young learners. These spaces incorporate games, puzzles, and hands-on activities that promote sensory development, problem-solving, and motor skills. The integration of play and learning instills a positive association with education in children, setting a solid foundation for future learning.
  • Accessible Digital Resources: In the digital age, libraries provide access to a wide range of digital resources, including e-books and educational apps suitable for young children. This digital dimension augments traditional reading, incorporating multimedia elements to make learning more engaging and interactive. Libraries embrace technology to meet the evolving needs of young learners while emphasizing responsible digital usage.
  • Encouragement of Curiosity and Inquiry: Libraries encourage children to ask questions, explore, and seek answers. The librarians, often skilled in child development and education, guide children in finding age-appropriate books and resources. This guidance instills a sense of curiosity and fosters an early understanding of the importance of asking questions and seeking knowledge.
  • Bridging the Socioeconomic Gap: Libraries are crucial in bridging the socioeconomic gap by providing free access to educational resources. They ensure that children from diverse backgrounds have equal opportunities to access books, educational programs, and literacy materials. This inclusive approach at an early age sets the tone for a society that values equal access to learning for all.

Libraries are fundamental partners in early childhood literacy and lifelong learning. They cultivate a love for reading, enhance language skills, and encourage exploration, setting the stage for a lifetime of learning. Libraries become the cornerstone of a literate and intellectually engaged society by providing a nurturing environment that promotes intellectual growth and a thirst for knowledge.

1.6 Transformation of Lifelong _ Learning: The Impact of Digital Resources and Technology in Libraries

Integrating digital resources and technology into libraries has revolutionized how patrons access and engage with information, significantly enhancing lifelong learning experiences. This technological transformation has propelled libraries into the digital age, broadening their reach and enabling a more dynamic and personalized learning environment. Now, we explore how digital resources and technology have reshaped the lifelong learning landscape for library patrons.

  • Enhanced Accessibility and Convenience: Digital resources have made information accessible anytime, anywhere. Patrons can now access a vast array of e-books, audiobooks, online journals, and educational databases from the comfort of their homes or on-the-go through laptops, tablets, or smartphones. This level of convenience has encouraged more individuals to engage in continuous learning, as barriers related to physical location and operating hours have been significantly reduced.
  • Diverse and Abundant Learning Materials: Digital libraries offer extensive learning materials catering to diverse interests and preferences. From academic textbooks to specialized courses, patrons can access a rich tapestry of subjects and topics, allowing them to tailor their learning experiences based on their specific needs and aspirations. The abundance of materials ensures patrons can explore and expand their knowledge across multiple domains.
  • Interactive Learning Platforms and Tools: Technology has facilitated the creation of interactive learning platforms and tools that engage and challenge learners. Online courses, interactive tutorials, virtual classrooms, and educational apps provide interactive experiences, quizzes, and assessments, enriching learning. Patrons can now participate in discussions, collaborate with peers, and receive immediate feedback, mimicking a classroom-like environment.
  • Personalized Learning Journeys: Advanced algorithms and machine learning technologies enable libraries to personalize the learning journey for each patron. By analyzing their preferences, browsing history, and learning patterns, libraries can recommend tailored content, courses, or activities that align with the individual’s interests and goals. This personalized approach enhances engagement and encourages patrons to explore new areas of learning.
  • Multi-sensory Learning Experience: Digital resources often incorporate multimedia elements, such as videos, animations, and interactive graphics, creating a multi-sensory learning experience. This approach caters to different learning styles and enhances comprehension and retention of information. Patrons can now choose from various formats and engage with content that best suits their learning preferences.
  • Global Learning Communities and Collaboration: Digital platforms foster the creation of online learning communities, enabling patrons to connect with individuals worldwide who share similar interests. These communities provide collaboration, knowledge sharing, and discussion opportunities, enhancing the overall learning experience. Patrons can learn from different perspectives and gain insights from diverse learners.
  • Real-time Updates and Current Information: Digital platforms allow real-time updates and instant access to current information and research findings. This ensures patrons have access to the latest developments in their fields of interest, keeping them informed and up-to-date with the ever-evolving knowledge landscape.

In conclusion, the infusion of digital resources and technology into libraries has democratized access to knowledge and transformed how patrons engage with learning materials. The seamless integration of technology has enriched lifelong learning experiences, making education more inclusive, interactive, and adaptive to the diverse learning needs of individuals. The future of lifelong learning in libraries undoubtedly lies in continued innovation and leveraging technology to enhance the educational journey for all.

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Dialogues in Promoting Knowledge Construction

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Bo Chang , Ball State University Follow

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Paper: Empirical

This study examined how different types of dialogues promoted knowledge construction in an online course. Findings show that instructor designed the online discussion questions which balanced the grounding dialogue, critical dialogue and reflective dialogues. Three types of dialogues were interwoven together to help students understand the topics from various dimensions. Giving students freedom to select readings and discussion questions, creating a safe environment, and providing practical and controversial materials give space for different types of dialogues to flourish, and are crucial for stimulating the active and proactive knowledge sharing and creation.

Online dialogues, knowledge construction

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Promoting Opportunity and Growth through Science, Technology, and Innovation

Subscribe to the economic studies bulletin, jason e. bordoff , jeb jason e. bordoff michael deich , md michael deich peter r. orszag , and peter r. orszag vice chairman of investment banking, managing director, and global co-head of healthcare - lazard rebecca kahane rk rebecca kahane.

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Introduction Americans are facing heightened economic pressures from the effects of globalization as workers from China, India, and other developing nations play a growing role in the world’s economy. Advances in technology and transportation now mean that U.S. workers increasingly are competing with workers overseas—not just in manufacturing, but also in high-skill and high-wage sectors. Growth in information technologies, in particular, has facilitated deeper integration of economies across the globe while also posing both new opportunities and new challenges for the U.S. economy.

Maintaining our nation’s economic leadership in the world and promoting broad-based growth at home will require effective policies to support research, innovation, and access to advanced information and telecommunications technologies. Innovation has long fueled economic growth, often giving rise to new industries and new jobs. According to the National Academies, “Since the Industrial Revolution, the growth of economies throughout the world has been driven largely by the pursuit of scientific understanding, the application of engineering solutions, and continual technological innovation”. Numerous academic studies confirm that technological progress has accounted for a significant share of U.S. economic growth; a recent study shows that the share of economic growth directly attributable to research and development (R&D) investment has increased over time. What makes knowledge, innovation, and technology such powerful drivers of economic growth is that, unlike capital and labor, they do not suffer from diminishing returns. Indeed, in many cases the creation of knowledge and technological innovation actually increase the return to further knowledge and innovation, thus creating a powerful growth mechanism.

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Promoting Knowledge Management and Making It Stick

essay about promoting knowledge

Motivating employees to share and reuse knowledge has always been the holy grail of knowledge management. But what actually convinces employees to change their habits and incorporate KM into their daily activities? This collection brings together content from APQC’s "Promoting KM and Making It Stick" research, which included survey data from 374 KM professionals and in-depth case studies with eight best-practice organizations.

Included in this Collection

Promoting knowledge management and making it stick: survey summary, building km buy-in across air traffic navigation services, developing a knowledge sharing culture at consolidated contractors company, how msa the safety company connects km to its mission: saving customers' lives, how pfizer deploys knowledge management at the site level, integrating km into the flow of customer support at shopify, enabling global knowledge sharing at world vision international, how a large software company engages employees in communities, enabling knowledge sharing and project collaboration at a software and technology consulting firm, promoting km and making it stick in the financial services, banking, and insurance industries, promoting km and making it stick in the government and military sector, promoting km and making it stick in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, promoting km and making it stick in the industrial products industry, promoting km and making it stick in the manufacturing industry, promoting km and making it stick in the nonprofit sector, promoting km and making it stick in the petroleum and chemical industries, promoting km and making it stick in the services industry, promoting km and making it stick in the software and telecommunications industries.

The Integral Role of Computer Knowledge in Modern Society

This essay about the integral role of computer knowledge highlights its essential nature in modern society. It emphasizes the importance of computer literacy for personal empowerment professional productivity and societal advancement. The essay discusses how computer skills enhance daily life drive innovation in the workplace transform education and address complex global issues. It also underscores the critical need for cybersecurity awareness to protect personal and organizational data in an increasingly digital world.

How it works

In today’s fast-paced and interconnected world computer knowledge is no longer a niche skill reserved for IT professionals; it has become an essential aspect of daily life and a cornerstone of almost every industry. The digital revolution has ushered in an era where understanding the basics of computer operations software applications and internet navigation is indispensable for both personal and professional success. This essay delves into the multifaceted importance of computer knowledge highlighting its impact on various sectors and its significance in fostering a well-informed capable society.

Firstly computer literacy is crucial for personal empowerment and everyday convenience. The ability to use computers effectively opens up a world of information and resources that can enhance one’s quality of life. From managing personal finances through online banking to accessing educational resources health information and government services the internet offers a plethora of tools that can simplify and improve day-to-day activities. Moreover in a world where social interactions increasingly take place online being proficient in using digital communication platforms such as email social media and video conferencing is vital for maintaining personal relationships and engaging with broader communities.

In the professional realm computer knowledge is a key driver of productivity and innovation. Virtually every job today requires some level of computer proficiency whether it’s basic word processing and spreadsheet management or more advanced skills like coding data analysis and digital marketing. For instance businesses rely heavily on software to manage operations from customer relationship management (CRM) systems to enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools. Employees who are adept at using these technologies can perform their tasks more efficiently contribute to smoother workflows and support the organization’s goals more effectively. Additionally professionals with advanced computer skills are better positioned to drive innovation whether through developing new software solutions leveraging data for strategic decision-making or enhancing cybersecurity measures.

The educational sector also benefits immensely from the integration of computer knowledge. The advent of digital learning platforms has transformed traditional teaching methods making education more accessible and engaging. Online courses virtual classrooms and interactive educational software provide students with diverse learning opportunities that cater to different learning styles and paces. For educators computer literacy enables the creation of more dynamic and personalized learning experiences. Furthermore students who develop strong computer skills early on are better prepared for the technological demands of higher education and the workforce giving them a competitive edge in an increasingly digital world.

Beyond individual and professional applications computer knowledge plays a critical role in societal advancement. Governments and organizations use sophisticated computer systems to tackle complex issues such as public health environmental protection and infrastructure development. For example big data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) are being used to predict and manage disease outbreaks optimize traffic flow in smart cities and monitor climate change. These applications demonstrate how computer knowledge can contribute to solving some of the world’s most pressing challenges ultimately leading to a more sustainable and equitable future.

Moreover the importance of cybersecurity cannot be overstated in an era where cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated and pervasive. Understanding the basics of cybersecurity such as recognizing phishing attempts creating strong passwords and securing personal devices is essential for protecting sensitive information and maintaining privacy. On a larger scale organizations must invest in robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard their data and systems against breaches that can have severe financial and reputational consequences.

In conclusion computer knowledge is an indispensable skill set that transcends personal convenience and professional necessity. It is a driving force behind innovation education and societal progress. As technology continues to evolve and permeate every aspect of life fostering computer literacy across all demographics is crucial. By equipping individuals with the necessary skills to navigate and leverage digital tools we can ensure that everyone has the opportunity to thrive in the digital age contributing to a more informed capable and resilient society.


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  • Original article
  • Open access
  • Published: 08 July 2024

Can you spot the bot? Identifying AI-generated writing in college essays

  • Tal Waltzer   ORCID: 1 ,
  • Celeste Pilegard 1 &
  • Gail D. Heyman 1  

International Journal for Educational Integrity volume  20 , Article number:  11 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

Metrics details

The release of ChatGPT in 2022 has generated extensive speculation about how Artificial Intelligence (AI) will impact the capacity of institutions for higher learning to achieve their central missions of promoting learning and certifying knowledge. Our main questions were whether people could identify AI-generated text and whether factors such as expertise or confidence would predict this ability. The present research provides empirical data to inform these speculations through an assessment given to a convenience sample of 140 college instructors and 145 college students (Study 1) as well as to ChatGPT itself (Study 2). The assessment was administered in an online survey and included an AI Identification Test which presented pairs of essays: In each case, one was written by a college student during an in-class exam and the other was generated by ChatGPT. Analyses with binomial tests and linear modeling suggested that the AI Identification Test was challenging: On average, instructors were able to guess which one was written by ChatGPT only 70% of the time (compared to 60% for students and 63% for ChatGPT). Neither experience with ChatGPT nor content expertise improved performance. Even people who were confident in their abilities struggled with the test. ChatGPT responses reflected much more confidence than human participants despite performing just as poorly. ChatGPT responses on an AI Attitude Assessment measure were similar to those reported by instructors and students except that ChatGPT rated several AI uses more favorably and indicated substantially more optimism about the positive educational benefits of AI. The findings highlight challenges for scholars and practitioners to consider as they navigate the integration of AI in education.


Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming ubiquitous in daily life. It has the potential to help solve many of society’s most complex and important problems, such as improving the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of chronic disease (Jiang et al. 2017 ), and informing public policy regarding climate change (Biswas 2023 ). However, AI also comes with potential pitfalls, such as threatening widely-held values like fairness and the right to privacy (Borenstein and Howard 2021 ; Weidinger et al. 2021 ; Zhuo et al. 2023 ). Although the specific ways in which the promises and pitfalls of AI will play out remain to be seen, it is clear that AI will change human societies in significant ways.

In late November of 2022, the generative large-language model ChatGPT (GPT-3, Brown et al. 2020 ) was released to the public. It soon became clear that talk about the consequences of AI was much more than futuristic speculation, and that we are now watching its consequences unfold before our eyes in real time. This is not only because the technology is now easily accessible to the general public, but also because of its advanced capacities, including a sophisticated ability to use context to generate appropriate responses to a wide range of prompts (Devlin et al. 2018 ; Gilson et al. 2022 ; Susnjak 2022 ; Vaswani et al. 2017 ).

How AI-generated content poses challenges for educational assessment

Since AI technologies like ChatGPT can flexibly produce human-like content, this raises the possibility that students may use the technology to complete their academic work for them, and that instructors may not be able to tell when their students turn in such AI-assisted work. This possibility has led some people to argue that we may be seeing the end of essay assignments in education (Mitchell 2022 ; Stokel-Walker 2022 ). Even some advocates of AI in the classroom have expressed concerns about its potential for undermining academic integrity (Cotton et al. 2023 ; Eke 2023 ). For example, as Kasneci et al. ( 2023 ) noted, the technology might “amplify laziness and counteract the learners’ interest to conduct their own investigations and come to their own conclusions or solutions” (p. 5). In response to these concerns, some educational institutions have already tried to ban ChatGPT (Johnson, 2023; Rosenzweig-Ziff 2023 ; Schulten, 2023).

These discussions are founded on extensive scholarship on academic integrity, which is fundamental to ethics in higher education (Bertram Gallant 2011 ; Bretag 2016 ; Rettinger and Bertram Gallant 2022 ). Challenges to academic integrity are not new: Students have long found and used tools to circumvent the work their teachers assign to them, and research on these behaviors spans nearly a century (Cizek 1999 ; Hartshorne and May 1928 ; McCabe et al. 2012 ). One recent example is contract cheating, where students pay other people to do their schoolwork for them, such as writing an essay (Bretag et al. 2019 ; Curtis and Clare 2017 ). While very few students (less than 5% by most estimates) tend to use contract cheating, AI has the potential to make cheating more accessible and affordable and it raises many new questions about the relationship between technology, academic integrity, and ethics in education (Cotton et al. 2023 ; Eke 2023 ; Susnjak 2022 ).

To date, there is very little empirical evidence to inform debates about the likely impact of ChatGPT on education or to inform what best practices might look like regarding use of the technology (Dwivedi et al. 2023 ; Lo 2023 ). The primary goal of the present research is to provide such evidence with reference to college-essay writing. One critical question is whether college students can pass off work generated by ChatGPT as their own. If so, large numbers of students may simply paste in ChatGPT responses to essays they are asked to write without the kind of active engagement with the material that leads to deep learning (Chi and Wylie 2014 ). This problem is likely to be exacerbated when students brag about doing this and earning high scores, which can encourage other students to follow suit. Indeed, this kind of bragging motivated the present work (when the last author learned about a college student bragging about using ChatGPT to write all of her final papers in her college classes and getting A’s on all of them).

In support of the possibility that instructors may have trouble identifying ChatGPT-generated test, some previous research suggests that ChatGPT is capable of successfully generating college- or graduate-school level writing. Yeadon et al. ( 2023 ) used AI to generate responses to essays based on a set of prompts used in a physics module that was in current use and asked graders to evaluate the responses. An example prompt they used was: “How did natural philosophers’ understanding of electricity change during the 18th and 19th centuries?” The researchers found that the AI-generated responses earned scores comparable to most students taking the module and concluded that current AI large-language models pose “a significant threat to the fidelity of short-form essays as an assessment method in Physics courses.” Terwiesch ( 2023 ) found that ChatGPT scored at a B or B- level on the final exam of Operations Management in an MBA program, and Katz et al. ( 2023 ) found that ChatGPT has the necessary legal knowledge, reading comprehension, and writing ability to pass the Bar exam in nearly all jurisdictions in the United States. This evidence makes it very clear that ChatGPT can generate well-written content in response to a wide range of prompts.

Distinguishing AI-generated from human-generated work

What is still not clear is how good instructors are at distinguishing between ChatGPT-generated writing and writing generated by students at the college level given that it is at least possible that ChatGPT-generated writing could be both high quality and be distinctly different than anything people generally write (e.g., because ChatGPT-generated writing has particular features). To our knowledge, this question has not yet been addressed, but a few prior studies have examined related questions. In the first such study, Gunser et al. ( 2021 ) used writing generated by a ChatGPT predecessor, GPT-2 (see Radford et al. 2019 ). They tested nine participants with a professional background in literature. These participants both generated content (i.e., wrote continuations after receiving the first few lines of unfamiliar poems or stories), and determined how other writing was generated. Gunser et al. ( 2021 ) found that misclassifications were relatively common. For example, in 18% of cases participants judged AI-assisted writing to be human-generated. This suggests that even AI technology that is substantially less advanced than ChatGPT is capable of generating writing that is hard to distinguish from human writing.

Köbis and Mossink ( 2021 ) also examined participants’ ability to distinguish between poetry written by GPT-2 and humans. Their participants were given pairs of poems. They were told that one poem in each pair was written by a human and the other was written by GPT-2, and they were asked to determine which was which. In one of their studies, the human-written poems were written by professional poets. The researchers generated multiple poems in response to prompts, and they found that when the comparison GPT-2 poems were ones they selected as the best among the set generated by the AI, participants could not distinguish between the GPT-2 and human writing. However, when researchers randomly selected poems generated by GPT-2, participants were better than chance at detecting which ones were generated by the AI.

In a third relevant study, Waltzer et al. ( 2023a ) tested high school teachers and students. All participants were presented with pairs of English essays, such as one on why literature matters. In each case one essay was written by a high school student and the other was generated by ChatGPT, and participants were asked which essay in each pair had been generated by ChatGPT. Waltzer et al. ( 2023a ) found that teachers only got it right 70% of the time, and that students’ performance was even worse (62%). They also found that well-written essays were harder to distinguish from those generated by ChatGPT than poorly written ones. However, it is unclear the extent to which these findings are specific to the high school context. It should also be noted that there were no clear right or wrong answers in the types of essays used in Waltzer et al. ( 2023a ), so the results may not generalize to essays that ask for factual information based on specific class content.

AI detection skills, attitudes, and perceptions

If college instructors find it challenging to distinguish between writing generated by ChatGPT and college students, it raises the question of what factors might be correlated with the ability to perform this discrimination. One possible correlate is experience with ChatGPT, which may allow people to recognize patterns in the writing style it generates, such as a tendency to formally summarize previous content. Content-relevant knowledge is another possible predictor. Individuals with such knowledge will presumably be better at spotting errors in answers, and it is plausible that instructors know that AI tools are likely to get content of introductory-level college courses correct and assume that essays that contain errors are written by students.

Another possible predictor is confidence about one’s ability to discriminate on the task or on particular items of the task (Erickson and Heit 2015 ; Fischer & Budesco, 2005 ; Wixted and Wells 2017 ). In other words, are AI discriminations made with a high degree of confidence more likely to be accurate than low-confidence discriminations? In some cases, confidence judgments are a good predictor of accuracy, such as on many perceptual decision tasks (e.g., detecting contrast between light and dark bars, Fleming et al. 2010 ). However, in other cases correlations between confidence and accuracy are small or non-existent, such as on some deductive reasoning tasks (e.g., Shynkaruk and Thompson 2006 ). Links to confidence can also depend on how confidence is measured: Gigerenzer et al. ( 1991 ) found overconfidence on individual items, but good calibration when participants were asked how many items they got right after seeing many items.

In addition to the importance of gathering empirical data on the extent to which instructors can distinguish ChatGPT from college student writing, it is important to examine how college instructors and students perceive AI in education given that such attitudes may affect behavior (Al Darayseh 2023 ; Chocarro et al. 2023 ; Joo et al. 2018 ; Tlili et al. 2023 ). For example, instructors may only try to develop precautions to prevent AI cheating if they view this as a significant concern. Similarly, students’ confusion about what counts as cheating can play an important role in their cheating decisions (Waltzer and Dahl 2023 ; Waltzer et al. 2023b ).

The present research

In the present research we developed an assessment that we gave to college instructors and students (Study 1) and ChatGPT itself (Study 2). The central feature of the assessment was an AI Identification Test , which included 6 pairs of essays. In each case (as was indicated in the instructions), one essay in each pair was generated by ChatGPT and the other was written by college students. The task was to determine which essay was written by the chatbot. The essay pairs were drawn from larger pools of essays of each type.

The student essays were written by students as part of a graded exam in a psychology class, and the ChatGPT essays were generated in response to the same essay prompts. Of interest was overall performance and to assess potential correlates of performance. Performance of college instructors was of particular interest because they are the ones typically responsible for grading, but performance of students and ChatGPT were also of interest for comparison. ChatGPT was also of interest given anecdotal evidence that college instructors are asking ChatGPT to tell them whether pieces of work were AI-generated. For example, the academic integrity office at one major university sent out an announcement asking instructors not to report students for cheating if their evidence was solely based on using ChatGPT to detect AI-generated writing (UCSD Academic Integrity Office, 2023 ).

We also administered an AI Attitude Assessment (Waltzer et al. 2023a ), which included questions about overall levels of optimism and pessimism about the use of AI in education, and the appropriateness of specific uses of AI in academic settings, such as a student submitting an edited version of a ChatGPT-generated essay for a writing assignment.

Study 1: College instructors and students

Participants were given an online assessment that included an AI Identification Test , an AI Attitude Assessment , and some demographic questions. The AI Identification Test was developed for the present research, as described below (see Materials and Procedure). The test involved presenting six pairs of essays, with the instructions to try to identify which one was written by ChatGPT in each case. Participants also rated their confidence before the task and after responding to each item, and reported how many they thought they got right at the end. The AI Attitude Assessment was drawn from Waltzer et al. ( 2023a ) to assess participants’ views of the use of AI in education.


For the testing phase of the project, we recruited 140 instructors who had taught or worked as a teaching assistant for classes at the college level (69 of them taught psychology and 63 taught other subjects such as philosophy, computer science, and history). We recruited instructors through personal connections and snowball sampling. Most of the instructors were women (59%), white (60%), and native English speakers (67%), and most of them taught at colleges in the United States (91%). We also recruited 145 undergraduate students ( M age = 20.90 years, 80% women, 52% Asian, 63% native English speakers) from a subject recruitment system in the psychology department at a large research university in the United States. All data collection took place between 3/15/2023 and 4/15/2023 and followed our pre-registration plan ( ).

Materials and procedure

Developing the ai identification test.

To create the stimuli for the AI Identification Test, we first generated two prompts for the essays (Table  1 ). We chose these prompts in collaboration with an instructor to reflect real student assignments for a college psychology class.

Fifty undergraduate students hand-wrote both essays as part of a proctored exam in their psychology class on 1/30/2023. Research assistants transcribed the essays and removed essays from the pool that were not written in third-person or did not include the correct number of sentences. Three additional essays were excluded for being illegible, and another one was excluded for mentioning a specific location on campus. This led to 15 exclusions for the Phonemic Awareness prompt and 25 exclusions for the Studying Advice prompt. After applying these exclusions, we randomly selected 25 essays for each prompt to generate the 6 pairs given to each participant. To prepare the texts for use as stimuli, research assistants then used a word processor to correct obvious errors that could be corrected without major rewriting (e.g., punctuation, spelling, and capitalization).

All student essays were graded according to the class rubric on a scale from 0 to 10 by two individuals on the teaching team of the class: the course’s primary instructor and a graduate student teaching assistant. Grades were averaged together to create one combined grade for each essay (mean: 7.93, SD: 2.29, range: 2–10). Two of the authors also scored the student essays for writing quality on a scale from 0 to 100, including clarity, conciseness, and coherence (combined score mean: 82.83, SD : 7.53, range: 65–98). Materials for the study, including detailed scoring rubrics, are available at .

The ChatGPT stimuli were prepared by entering the same prompts into ChatGPT ( ) between 1/23/2023 and 1/25/2023, and re-generating the responses until there were 25 different essays for each prompt.

Testing Phase

In the participant testing phase, college instructors and students took the assessment, which lasted approximately 10 min. All participants began by indicating the name of their school and whether they were an instructor or a student, how familiar they were with ChatGPT (“Please rate how much experience you have with using ChatGPT”), and how confident they were that they would be able to distinguish between writing generated by ChatGPT and by college students. Then they were told they would get to see how well they score at the end, and they began the AI Identification Test.

The AI Identification Test consisted of six pairs of essays: three Phonemic Awareness pairs, and three Studying Advice pairs, in counterbalanced order. Each pair included one text generated by ChatGPT and one text generated by a college student, both drawn randomly from their respective pools of 25 possible essays. No essays were repeated for the same participant. Figure  1 illustrates what a text pair looked like in the survey.

figure 1

Example pair of essays for the Phonemic Awareness prompt. Top: student essay. Bottom: ChatGPT essay

For each pair, participants selected the essay they thought was generated by ChatGPT and indicated how confident they were about their choice (slider from 0 = “not at all confident” to 100 = “extremely confident”). After all six pairs, participants estimated how well they did (“How many of the text pairs do you think you answered correctly?”).

After completing the AI Identification task, participants completed the AI Attitude Assessment concerning their views of ChatGPT in educational contexts (see Waltzer et al. 2023a ). On this assessment, participants first estimated what percent of college students in the United States would ask ChatGPT to write an essay for them and submit it. Next, they rated their concerns (“How concerned are you about ChatGPT having negative effects on education?”) and optimism (“How optimistic are you about ChatGPT having positive benefits for education?”) about the technology on a scale from 0 (“not at all”) to 100 (“extremely”). On the final part of the AI Attitude Assessment, they evaluated five different possible uses of ChatGPT in education (such as submitting an essay after asking ChatGPT to improve the vocabulary) on a scale from − 10 (“really bad”) to + 10 (“really good”).

Participants also rated the extent to which they already knew the subject matter (i.e., cognitive psychology and the science of learning), and were given optional open-ended text boxes to share any experiences from their classes or suggestions for instructors related to the use of ChatGPT, or to comment on any of the questions in the Attitude Assessment. Instructors were also asked whether they had ever taught a psychology class and to describe their teaching experience. At the end, all participants reported demographic information (e.g., age, gender). All prompts are available in the online supplementary materials ( ).

Data Analysis

We descriptively summarized variables of interest (e.g., overall accuracy on the Identification Test). We used inferential tests to predict Identification Test accuracy from group (instructor or student), confidence, subject expertise, and familiarity with ChatGPT. We also predicted responses to the AI Attitude Assessment as a function of group (instructor or student). All data analysis was done using R Statistical Software (v4.3.2; R Core Team 2021 ).

Key hypotheses were tested using Welch’s two-sample t-tests for group comparisons, linear regression models with F-tests for other predictors of accuracy, and Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMMs, Hox 2010 ) with likelihood ratio tests for within-subjects trial-by-trial analyses. GLMMs used random intercepts for participants and predicted trial performance (correct or incorrect) using trial confidence and essay quality as fixed effects.

Overall performance on AI identification test

Instructors correctly identified which essay was written by the chatbot 70% of the time, which was above chance (chance: 50%, binomial test: p  < .001, 95% CI: [66%, 73%]). Students also performed above chance, with an average score of 60% (binomial test: p  < .001, 95% CI: [57%, 64%]). Instructors performed significantly better than students (Welch’s two-sample t -test: t [283] = 3.30, p  = .001).

Familiarity With subject matter

Participants rated how much previous knowledge they had in the essay subject matter (i.e., cognitive psychology and the science of learning). Linear regression models with F- tests indicated that familiarity with the subject did not predict instructors’ or students’ accuracy, F s(1) < 0.49, p s > .486. Psychology instructors did not perform any better than non-psychology instructors, t (130) = 0.18, p  = .860.

Familiarity with ChatGPT

Nearly all participants (94%) said they had heard of ChatGPT before taking the survey, and most instructors (62%) and about half of students (50%) said they had used ChatGPT before. For both groups, participants who used ChatGPT did not perform any better than those who never used it before, F s(1) < 0.77, p s > .383. Instructors’ and students’ experience with ChatGPT (from 0 = not at all experienced to 100 = extremely experienced) also did not predict their performance, F s(1) < 0.77, p s > .383.

Confidence and estimated score

Before they began the Identification Test, both instructors and students expressed low confidence in their abilities to identify the chatbot ( M  = 34.60 on a scale from 0 = not at all confident to 100 = extremely confident). Their confidence was significantly below the midpoint of the scale (midpoint: 50), one-sample t -test: t (282) = 11.46, p  < .001, 95% CI: [31.95, 37.24]. Confidence ratings that were done before the AI Identification test did not predict performance for either group, Pearson’s r s < .12, p s > .171.

Right after they completed the Identification Test, participants guessed how many text pairs they got right. Both instructors and students significantly underestimated their performance by about 15%, 95% CI: [11%, 18%], t (279) = -8.42, p  < .001. Instructors’ estimated scores were positively correlated with their actual scores, Pearson’s r  = .20, t (135) = 2.42, p  = .017. Students’ estimated scores were not related to their actual scores, r  = .03, p  = .731.

Trial-by-trial performance on AI identification test

Participants’ confidence ratings on individual trials were counted as high if they fell above the midpoint (> 50 on a scale from 0 = not at all confident to 100 = extremely confident). For these within-subjects trial-by-trial analyses, we used Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMMs, Hox 2010 ) with random intercepts for participants and likelihood ratio tests (difference score reported as D ). Both instructors and students performed better on trials in which they expressed high confidence (instructors: 73%, students: 63%) compared to low confidence (instructors: 65%, students: 56%), D s(1) > 4.59, p s < .032.

Student essay quality

We used two measures to capture the quality of each student-written essay: its assigned grade from 0 to 10 based on the class rubric, and its writing quality score from 0 to 100. Assigned grade was weakly related to instructors’ accuracy, but not to students’ accuracy. The text pairs that instructors got right tended to include student essays that earned slightly lower grades ( M  = 7.89, SD  = 2.22) compared to those they got wrong ( M  = 8.17, SD  = 2.16), D (1) = 3.86, p  = .050. There was no difference for students, D (1) = 2.84, p  = .092. Writing quality score did not differ significantly between correct and incorrect trials for either group, D (1) = 2.12, p  = .146.

AI attitude assessment

Concerns and hopes about chatgpt.

Both instructors and students expressed intermediate levels of concern and optimism. Specifically, on a scale from 0 (“not at all”) to 100 (“extremely”), participants expressed intermediate concern about ChatGPT having negative effects on education ( M instructors = 59.82, M students = 55.97) and intermediate optimism about it having positive benefits ( M instructors = 49.86, M students = 54.08). Attitudes did not differ between instructors and students, t s < 1.43, p s > .154. Participants estimated that just over half of college students (instructors: 57%, students: 54%) would use ChatGPT to write an essay for them and submit it. These estimates also did not differ by group, t (278) = 0.90, p  = .370.

Evaluations of ChatGPT uses

Participants evaluated five different uses of ChatGPT in educational settings on a scale from − 10 (“really bad”) to + 10 (“really good”). Both instructors and students rated it very bad for someone to ask ChatGPT to write an essay for them and submit the direct output, but instructors rated it significantly more negatively (instructors: -8.95, students: -7.74), t (280) = 3.59, p  < .001. Attitudes did not differ between groups for any of the other scenarios (Table  2 ), t s < 1.31, p s > .130.

Exploratory analysis of demographic factors

We also conducted exploratory analyses looking at ChatGPT use and attitudes among different demographic groups (gender, race, and native English speakers). We combined instructors and students because their responses to the Attitude Assessment did not differ. In these exploratory analyses, we found that participants who were not native English speakers were more likely to report using ChatGPT and to view it more positively. Specifically, 69% of non-native English speakers had used ChatGPT before, versus 48% of native English speakers, D (1) = 12.00, p  < .001. Regardless of native language, the more experience someone had with ChatGPT, the more optimism they reported, F (1) = 18.71, p  < .001, r  = .37). Non-native speakers rated the scenario where a student writes an essay and asks ChatGPT to improve its vocabulary slightly positively (1.19) whereas native English speakers rated it slightly negatively (-1.43), F (1) = 11.00, p  = .001. Asian participants expressed higher optimism ( M  = 59.14) than non-Asian participants ( M  = 47.29), F (1) = 10.05, p  = .002. We found no other demographic differences.

Study 2: ChatGPT

Study 1 provided data on college instructors’ and students’ ability to recognize ChatGPT-generated writing and about their views of the technology. In Study 2, of primary interest was whether ChatGPT itself might perform better at identifying ChatGPT-generated writing. Indeed, the authors have heard discussions of this as a possible solution to recognize AI-generated writing. We addressed this question by repeatedly asking ChatGPT to act as a participant in the AI Identification Task. While doing so, we administered the rest of the assessment given to participants in Study 1. This included our AI Attitude Assessment, which allowed us to examine the extent to which ChatGPT produced attitude responses that were similar to those of the participants in Study 1.

Participants, materials, and procedures

There were no human participants for Study 2. We collected 40 survey responses from ChatGPT, each run in a separate session on the platform ( ) between 5/4/2023 and 5/15/2023.

Two research assistants were trained on how to run the survey in the ChatGPT online interface. All prompts from the Study 1 survey were used, with minor modifications to suit the chat format. For example, slider questions were explained in the prompt, so instead of “How confident are you about this answer?” the prompt was “How confident are you about this answer from 0 (not at all confident) to 100 (extremely confident)?”. In pilot testing, we found that ChatGPT sometimes failed to answer the question (e.g., by not providing a number), so we prepared a second prompt for every question that the researcher used whenever the first prompt was not answered (e.g., “Please answer the above question with one number between 0 to 100.”). If ChatGPT still failed on the second prompt, the researcher marked it as a non-response and moved on to the next question in the survey.

Data analysis

Like Study 1, all analyses were done in R Statistical Software (R Core Team 2021 ). Key analyses first used linear regression models and F -tests to compare all three groups (instructors, students, ChatGPT). When these omnibus tests were significant, we followed up with post-hoc pairwise comparisons using Tukey’s method.

AI identification test

Overall accuracy.

ChatGPT generated correct responses on 63% of trials in the AI Identification Test, which was significantly above chance, binomial test p  < .001, 95% CI: [57%, 69%]. Pairwise comparisons found that this performance by ChatGPT was not any different from that of instructors or students, t s(322) < 1.50, p s > .292.

Confidence and estimated performance

Unlike the human participants, ChatGPT produced responses with very high confidence before the task generally ( m  = 71.38, median  = 70) and during individual trials specifically ( m  = 89.82, median  = 95). General confidence ratings before the test were significantly higher from ChatGPT than from the humans (instructors: 34.35, students: 34.83), t s(320) > 9.47, p s < .001. But, as with the human participants, this confidence did not predict performance on the subsequent Identification task, F (1) = 0.94, p  = .339. And like the human participants, ChatGPT’s reported confidence on individual trials did predict performance: ChatGPT produced higher confidence ratings on correct trials ( m  = 91.38) than incorrect trials ( m  = 87.33), D (1) = 8.74, p  = .003.

ChatGPT also produced responses indicating high confidence after the task, typically estimating that it got all six text pairs right ( M  = 91%, median  = 100%). It overestimated performance by about 28%, and a paired t -test confirmed that ChatGPT’s estimated performance was significantly higher than its actual performance, t (36) = 9.66, p  < .001. As inflated as it was, estimated performance still had a small positive correlation with actual performance, Pearson’s r  = .35, t (35) = 2.21, p  = .034.

Essay quality

The quality of the student essays as indexed by their grade and writing quality score did not significantly predict performance, D s < 1.97, p s > .161.

AI attitude Assessment

Concerns and hopes.

ChatGPT usually failed to answer the question, “How concerned are you about ChatGPT having negative effects on education?” from 0 (not at all concerned) to 100 (extremely concerned). Across the 40% of cases where ChatGPT successfully produced an answer, the average concern rating was 64.38, which did not differ significantly from instructors’ or students’ responses, F (2, 294) = 1.20, p  = .304. ChatGPT produced answers much more often for the question, “How optimistic are you about ChatGPT having positive benefits for education?”, answering 88% of the time. The average optimism rating produced by ChatGPT was 73.24, which was significantly higher than that of instructors (49.86) and students (54.08), t s > 4.33, p s < .001. ChatGPT only answered 55% of the time for the question about how many students would use ChatGPT to write an essay for them and submit it, typically generating explanations about its inability to predict human behavior and the fact that it does not condone cheating when it did not give an estimate. When it did provide an estimate ( m  = 10%), it was vastly lower than that of instructors (57%) and students (54%), t s > 7.84, p s < .001.

Evaluation of ChatGPT uses

ChatGPT produced ratings of the ChatGPT use scenarios that on average were rank-ordered the same as the human ratings, with direct copying rated the most negatively and generating practice problems rated the most positively (see Fig.  2 ).

figure 2

Average ratings of ChatGPT uses, from − 10 = really bad to + 10 = really good. Human responses included for comparison (instructors in dark gray and students in light gray bars)

Compared to humans’ ratings, ratings produced by ChatGPT were significantly more positive in most scenarios, t s > 3.09, p s < .006, with two exceptions. There was no significant difference between groups in the “format” scenario (using ChatGPT to format an essay in another style such as APA), F (2,318) = 2.46, p  = .087. And for the “direct” scenario, ChatGPT tended to rate direct copying more negatively than students ( t [319] = 4.08, p  < .001) but not instructors (t[319] = 1.57, p  = .261), perhaps because ratings from ChatGPT and instructors were already so close to the most negative possible rating.

In 1950, Alan Turing said he hoped that one day machines would be able to compete with people in all intellectual fields (Turing 1950 ; see Köbis and Mossink 2021 ). Today, by many measures, the large-language model, ChatGPT, appears to be getting close to achieving this end. In doing so, it is raising questions about the impact this AI and its successors will have on individuals and the institutions that shape the societies in which we live. One important set of questions revolves around its use in higher education, which is the focus of the present research.

Empirical contributions

Detecting ai-generated text.

Our central research question focused on whether instructors can identify ChatGPT-generated writing, since an inability to do so could threaten the ability of institutions of higher learning to promote learning and assess competence. To address this question, we developed an AI Identification Test in which the goal was to try to distinguish between psychology essays written by college students on exams versus essays generated by ChatGPT in response to the same prompts. We found that although college instructors performed substantially better than chance, they still found the assessment to be challenging, scoring an average of only 70%. This relatively poor performance suggests that college instructors have substantial difficulty detecting ChatGPT-generated writing. Interestingly, this performance by the college instructors was the same average performance as Waltzer et al. ( 2023a ) observed among high school instructors (70%) on a similar test involving English literature essays, suggesting the results are generalizable across the student populations and essay types. We also gave the assessment to college students (Study 1) and to ChatGPT (Study 2) for comparison. On average, students (60%) and ChatGPT (63%) performed even worse than instructors, although the difference only reached statistical significance when comparing students and instructors.

We found that instructors and students who went into the study believing they would be very good at distinguishing between essays written by college students versus essays generated by ChatGPT were in fact no better at doing so than participants who lacked such confidence. However, we did find that item-level confidence did predict performance: when participants rated their confidence after each specific pair (i.e., “How confident are you about this answer?”), they did perform significantly better on items they reported higher confidence on. These same patterns were observed when analyzing the confidence ratings from ChatGPT, though ChatGPT produced much higher confidence ratings than instructors or students, reporting overconfidence while instructors and students reported underconfidence.

Attitudes toward AI in education

Instructors and students both thought it was very bad for students to turn in an assignment generated by ChatGPT as their own, and these ratings were especially negative for instructors. Overall, instructors and students looked similar to one another in their evaluations of other uses of ChatGPT in education. For example, both rated submitting an edited version of a ChatGPT-generated essay in a class as bad, but less bad than submitting an unedited version. Interestingly, the rank orderings in evaluations of ChatGPT uses were the same when the responses were generated by ChatGPT as when they were generated by instructors or students. However, ChatGPT produced more favorable ratings of several uses compared to instructors and students (e.g., using the AI tool to enhance the vocabulary in an essay). Overall, both instructors and students reported being about as optimistic as they were concerned about AI in education. Interestingly, ChatGPT produced responses indicative of much more optimism than both human groups of participants.

Many instructors commented on the challenges ChatGPT poses for educators. One noted that “… ChatGPT makes it harder for us to rely on homework assignments to help students to learn. It will also likely be much harder to rely on grading to signal how likely it is for a student to be good at a skill or how creative they are.” Some suggested possible solutions such as coupling writing with oral exams. Others suggested that they would appreciate guidance. For example, one said, “I have told students not to use it, but I feel like I should not be like that. I think some of my reluctance to allow usage comes from not having good guidelines.”

And like the instructors, some students also suggested that they want guidance, such as knowing whether using ChatGPT to convert a document to MLA format would count as a violation of academic integrity. They also highlighted many of the same problems as instructors and noted beneficial ways students are finding to use it. One student noted that, “I think ChatGPT definitely has the potential to be abused in an educational setting, but I think at its core it can be a very useful tool for students. For example, I’ve heard of one student giving ChatGPT a rubric for an assignment and asking it to grade their own essay based on the rubric in order to improve their writing on their own.”

Theoretical contributions and practical implications

Our findings underscore the fact that AI chatbots have the potential to produce confident-sounding responses that are misleading (Chen et al. 2023 ; Goodwins 2022 ; Salvi et al. 2024 ). Interestingly, the underconfidence reported by instructors and students stands in contrast to some findings that people often expressed overconfidence in their abilities to detect AI (e.g., deepfake videos, Köbis et al. 2021 ). Although general confidence before the task did not predict performance, specific confidence on each item of the task did predict performance. Taken together, our findings are consistent with other work suggesting confidence effects are context-dependent and can differ depending on whether they are assessed at the item level or more generally (Gigerenzer et al. 1991 ).

The fact that college instructors have substantial difficulty differentiating between ChatGPT-generated writing and the writing of college students provides evidence that ChatGPT poses a significant threat to academic integrity. Ignoring this threat is also likely to undermine central aspects of the mission of higher education in ways that undermine the value of assessments and disincentivize the kinds of cognitive engagement that promote deep learning (Chi and Wylie 2014 ). We are skeptical of answers that point to the use of AI detection tools to address this issue given that they will always be imperfect and false accusations have potential to cause serious harm (Dalalah and Dalalah 2023 ; Fowler 2023 ; Svrluga, 2023 ). Rather, we think that the solution will have to involve developing and disseminating best practices regarding creating assessments and incentivizing cognitive engagement in ways that help students learn to use AI as problem-solving tools.

Limitations and future directions

Why instructors perform better than students at detecting AI-generated text is unclear. Although we did not find any effect of content-relevant expertise, it still may be the case that experience with evaluating student writing matters, and instructors presumably have more such experience. For example, one non-psychology instructor who got 100% of the pairs correct said, “Experience with grading lower division undergraduate papers indicates that students do not always fully answer the prompt, if the example text did not appear to meet all of the requirements of the prompt or did not provide sufficient information, I tended to assume an actual student wrote it.” To address this possibility, it will be important to compare adults who do have teaching experience with those who do not.

It is somewhat surprising that experience with ChatGPT did not affect the performance of instructors or students on the AI Identification Test. One contributing factor may be that people pick up on some false heuristics from reading the text it generates (see Jakesch et al. 2023 ). It is possible that giving people practice at distinguishing the different forms of writing with feedback could lead to better performance.

Why confidence was predictive of accuracy at the item level is still not clear. One possibility is that there are some specific and valid cues many people were using. One likely cue is grammar. We revised grammar errors in student essays that were picked up by a standard spell checker in which the corrections were obvious. However, we left ungrammatical writing that didn’t have obvious corrections (e.g., “That is being said, to be able to understand the concepts and materials being learned, and be able to produce comprehension.“). Many instructors noted that they used grammatical errors as cues that writing was generated by students. As one instructor remarked, “Undergraduates often have slight errors in grammar and tense or plurality agreement, and I have heard the chat bot works very well as an editor.” Similarly, another noted, “I looked for more complete, grammatical sentences. In my experience, Chat-GPT doesn’t use fragment sentences and is grammatically correct. Students are more likely to use incomplete sentences or have grammatical errors.” This raises methodological questions about what is the best comparison between AI and human writing. For example, it is unclear which grammatical mistakes should be corrected in student writing. Also of interest will be to examine the detectability of writing that is generated by AI and later edited by students, since many students will undoubtedly use AI in this way to complete their course assignments.

We also found that student-written essays that earned higher grades (based on the scoring rubric for their class exam) were harder for instructors to differentiate from ChatGPT writing. This does not appear to be a simple effect of writing quality given that a separate measure of writing quality that did not account for content accuracy was not predictive. According to the class instructor, the higher-scoring essays tended to include more specific details, and this might have been what made them less distinguishable. Relatedly, it may be that the higher-scoring essays were harder to distinguish because they appeared to be generated by more competent-sounding writers, and it was clear from instructor comments that they generally viewed ChatGPT as highly competent.

The results of the present research validate concerns that have been raised about college instructors having difficulty distinguishing writing generated by ChatGPT from the writing of their students, and document that this is also true when students try to detect writing generated by ChatGPT. The results indicate that this issue is particularly pronounced when instructors evaluate high-scoring student essays. The results also indicate that ChatGPT itself performs no better than instructors at detecting ChatGPT-generated writing even though ChatGPT-reported confidence is much higher. These findings highlight the importance of examining current teaching and assessment practices and the potential challenges AI chatbots pose for academic integrity and ethics in education (Cotton et al. 2023 ; Eke 2023 ; Susnjak 2022 ). Further, the results show that both instructors and students have a mixture of apprehension and optimism about the use of AI in education, and that many are looking for guidance about how to ethically use it in ways that promote learning. Taken together, our findings underscore some of the challenges that need to be carefully navigated in order to minimize the risks and maximize the benefits of AI in education.

Data availability

Supplementary materials, including data, analysis, and survey items, are available on the Open Science Framework: .


Artificial Intelligence

Confidence Interval

Generalized Linear Mixed Model

Generative Pre-trained Transformer

Standard Deviation

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We thank Daniel Chen and Riley L. Cox for assistance with study design, stimulus preparation, and pilot testing. We also thank Emma C. Miller for grading the essays and Brian J. Compton for comments on the manuscript.

This work was partly supported by a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for T. Waltzer (NSF SPRF-FR# 2104610).

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All authors collaborated in the conceptualization and design of the research. C. Pilegard facilitated recruitment and coding for real class assignments used in the study. T. Waltzer led data collection and analysis. G. Heyman and T. Waltzer wrote and revised the manuscript.

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The Role of Fintech in Promoting Financial Inclusion to Achieve Sustainable Development: An Integrated Bibliometric Analysis and Systematic Literature Review

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Fintech’s ability to enhance efficiency and reduce costs in financial services can promote greater financial inclusion (FI), which in turn serves as a foundation for sustainable and equitable development. Due to the dearth of thorough summaries in the body of existing literature, this systematic review and bibliometric analysis aim to present quantitative and qualitative information about the comprehensive relationship between fintech, FI, and sustainability development in an organised way. The review includes 189 publications from peer-reviewed journals of Scopus and Web of Science (WoS) databases up to 2023. The article was compiled based on the Scientific Procedures and Rationales for Systematic Literature Reviews (SPAR‐4‐SLR) protocol and the theory-context-characteristics-methodology (TCCM) framework. Bibliometric analysis has identified the leading journals, authors, nations, articles, and themes. A conceptual model has been designed to illustrate the entire scope, following which potential study areas have been proposed. This study aims to provide academic researchers, policymakers, and regulators with a detailed understanding of the relationship between fintech, financial inclusion, and sustainable development. The analysis demonstrates that FI is an essential requirement of our society and a vital pathway to achieve sustainable development. In the content analysis, we identify an integrative framework of four variables on this nexus. We found a very few conceptual, qualitative, and mixed method papers on this interaction, which provide potential avenues for further research. We recommend that scholars consider adopting a multi-theory perspective. We propose a comprehensive framework on this nexus. It will also pinpoint specific areas that require further investigation.

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