Listening is not learning

jeff/ August 31, 2020

Sitting in a classroom while a professor lectures, or sitting at home watching a video of a professor speaking is not learning.

It’s listening. Sometimes it’s not even that. Sometimes, as we all know, even in the classroom you are barely paying any attention. But even if you are attentive, you are only using your minimal capacity for learning.

Taking notes during a class is helpful but can also be a distraction as you lose track of what the professor is saying while you are writing, especially if you are trying to transcribe verbatim everything the professor says. I’ve seen that in classrooms. It’s not that helpful, especially these days when lectures can be recorded. With video, you can pause, slow it down, or speed up and play the lecture at 1.5 speed.

Listening is acquiring information.

Learning happens when you take that information, do something with it like applying it to a problem or transforming the information in a different way.

Learning happens when you repeat that process of transferring what you have heard to different situations.

Learning happens when you do that over and over again.

Learning requires repetition. Remember, somewhere in school you had all that math homework: all those problems to solve, all those variations? The repetition is intended to help you learn, though you might still be wondering when you’re going to apply that calculus.

And that’s a key to learning: learning happens when you apply information to solve a problem that is of interest to you. That problem could be a project you are developing.

In this course, the term project is a project that should be of very strong interest to you. It’s about you.

You will learn the coding techniques as you apply those techniques to your project.

You are looking at videos now, on LinkedIn Learning and YouTube, to provide an introductory context and background information. As you view these videos, try to absorb what you can. Don’t stress if you don’t understand everything. As you transfer what you have heard to work on your project, you will find yourself going back and looking at those videos again. You will find yourself searching the Internet for how to do this or that. That’s normal. That’s how you learn. You learn by doing, not by listening.