Meaning Making Ignites the Desire to Learn


The science of learning and development presents many powerful lessons that can transform education systems, advance equity, and can help every young person thrive. The SoLD Alliance has previously outlined some of these overlapping, connected findings including potential, malleability, individuality, context, relationships, integration, and continuum. Today, we explore a new finding: meaning-making.

People continuously make meaning, consciously and unconsciously, of the ideas, concepts, experiences, and relationships they encounter, and of the cultures in which they live. An individual learns most effectively when provided with opportunities to connect new information and experiences to knowledge and experiences that have come before, seeking patterns and clues for how ideas relate and how they can be combined to produce interpretations that make sense in the context of their life, history, interests, and cultures. By reflecting and making sense of their learning within their social and cultural contexts, individuals build knowledge in ways that can develop greater motivation and agency and form a stronger foundation for future learning.

For a deeper dive on Meaning Making, we encourage you to read our updated paper, “How the Science of Learning and Development Can Transform Education: Initial Findings”

Right now, as we face COVID-19, people are trying to make meaning of the unprecedented impacts across the country and world. In the coming weeks, we’ll talk with leading experts about the COVID crisis in our series “Making Meaning: Conversations with Education Leaders.”

Stay informed and help drive change

Sign Up for our Newsletter