Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

Does It Matter How You Learn Something?

That question popped into my head when I read this article and, more specifically, a comment that stated:

The rather silly assumption is that you have to take a class to learn it. I have a commercial arts undergrad degree; I switched from XP to Linux more than a decade ago. Caldera, then Mandrake, then Mepis/Debain, now Xubuntu. Never looked back, Never took a class.

The path isn’t important. The destination is.

There’s no best way for everyone to learn something. Everyone is different. Everyone has different ways of doing things. Everyone has different approaches to learning something.

What you do works for you. But it might not work for me. Or your cousin or your best friend or a co-worker or a person living a continent away from you.

Some enjoy a more structured approach — either in a classroom or with a self-paced course. Others have what drummer Bill Bruford calls classic amateur’s technique: I know some very tricky bits and I have large gaping holes. Or, they could be like me and learn by both taking a course and by twiddling and twerning, combining book learning and learning from experience.

Doing a course is often a faster way of learning something. A course can give you depth, but it might not give you the breadth that you get from working on your own. For many, taking a course isn’t fun. It’s a chore.

The self paced, self guided route might not lead you to your destination faster than taking a course but learning doesn’t need to be a race. It doesn’t need to be a competition.

If one path or one method works for you, keep doing it. Don’t expect that path or method to work for everyone. And remember that it doesn’t matter how you learn something. The fact that you’re learning is all that matters.

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