You Don't Learn It Until You Do It

I really think that you don’t really learn something until you actually do it. This may be pretentious, and even wrong, but I really feel strongly that our current education system is backwards, in the sense that you go to a lecture and hear one person talk, and then after an hour leave.

It makes no sense to me. How do you expect anyone to learn from this?

I think most of the learning comes from doing the problem sets and homework. Or even doing projects. Recently, I’ve been trying to come up with a schema for a side project, and there are so many questions that I haven’t considered before. It really makes me motivated to go take a database class from an expert to get my questions answered… Or even in the United States, maybe there should be a massive effort to take a year off and do the actual job you want to do prior to graduation. That way, you have a lot of questions that need answering, can be grounded on WHY you need to be focused at learning as much as possible in college, and also be able to ask relevant questions when you take your courses.

If I was ever a teacher(which I plan on becoming eventually), this is what I would do:

  • I’d automate the crap out of grading papers. Maybe there would be a slick AI company that focuses on this. Who knows. Which reminds me. I had a professor back in college who would not give any points if the final answer was off by like a decimal point. This was so cruel, and it caused a lot of bitter tears among students. IF it was up to me, I’d make the tests graded in a way that the next question, you can use that answer as an input to solve all the other remaining problems. But I digress.
  • I’d try to assign all my problem sets without giving the lecture first, and expect them to turn in their problem sets BEFORE I turn in the lecture. That way, the students can try to learn this stuff on their own, and will probably have ample amount of questions after they got their hands dirty =D. It would help if the questions I assigned were not Googleable. Perhaps this I’d have one set of questions prior to lecture, and another set after the lecture.
  • Anyhoo, the focus of learning should be to explore different approaches to current ideas, challenge them, and make enough dots on the concepts prior to a professor’s lecture before the lecture. I think that would be immensely helpful in learning.