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Get your hands seriously dirty with science and math

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Why it is important to learn by doing

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Before answering this question, we need to ask ourselves another important question: what do we aim to achieve by learning? If gaining information about various subjects is what we aim to achieve then learning should come really easy in today’s world that is filled with sources of information. But does this really happen? Is learning just limited to assimilating information or does it actually mean developing skills that can help us use that information to solve real world problems.

The Wright brothers, who are credited with the invention of the airplane, built it after they gained the mechanical skills essential for their success by working for years in their shop with bicycles, motors, and other machinery. Would it have been possible for them to invent the airplane only by taking advanced courses in Mechanics? Probably not.

The reason for this is simple. Information alone is not enough to solve a problem. What is needed is the ability to apply that knowledge in a meaningful manner and this is rarely, if ever, a one step process. There is a famous anecdote about a reporter, who upon learning that Edison had done 20,000 experiments that didn’t work asked the scientist, "Aren't you discouraged by all this waste of effort?" Edison replied, "Waste! There's nothing wasted. I have discovered 20,000 things that won't work. And this is the most important lesson that one learns by doing, the lesson(s) that he learns from his own mistakes. While books can teach anyone what works, doing an activity on our own teaches us what does not work and this lesson is often more profound than the one that precedes it.