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Sebastian Scholl

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Sebastian Scholl

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the-nile-at-sunrise-takenI find there to be a great difference between knowing and learning.  The reason being that when you are learning something the goal is usually to be able to apply it – such as learning to throw a frisbee so that you can play frisbee.  However, much of the information that fills our minds is just knowledge and likely to never be used in any meaningful application.  While both play important roles in intelligence there are more effective methods to acquiring one or the other.  Ironically, though, we use the method best for acquiring knowledge for learning and the method best for learning for acquiring knowledge.

The reason I say this is because in our current educational system we are encouraged to learn with books and “know” from experience.  While this may not be explicitly stated, I find it to be a very apparent reality.  And for a simple reason, too.  Whenever someone asks me where I learned to do something, they often say it in a way which denotes “where did I study to learn to do that thing.”  The flip side of this is that when people ask how I “know” something, it is often a question of experience over study.


Now what’s frustrating about this is that we are told that we are learning while in school when actually we are really  just spending time acquiring knowledge.  You may disagree, but take a science class for example.  Did you learn science?  Or acquire scientific knowledge?  On top of that, did you take much away from the class besides a few fun facts about life?  The reality is that after spending a semester “learning” a subject, and sometimes years, the majority of people couldn’t have more than a two minute conversation on that topic.

You see, knowledge is the first step to learning because you must know of something before you learn about it.  All knowledge is though is the tinder for curiosity because after that initial interest only experience can deliver true learning.  It is because of this that I am a YouTube fanatic, and constantly find myself spending time watching online videos whenever homework is due.

YouTube is an ultimate source of knowledge, and one of the reasons that I have so many hobbies.  Having videos that cover nearly EVERYTHING that humans do/don’t do, it is the unedited encyclopedia of humanity.   Now, call me crazy, but I find YouTube a much more useful resource than any I’ve found in college.  The reason being that instead of wasting a semester on a class that I knew I wasn’t interested in once professor said, “hello”, on YouTube I’m able to watch a 5-minute video on the same subject that delivers the same knowledge I would have taken away from three months of class.  And even better, from that 5-minute video I can then decide if I’m interested in pursuing  the subject by then finding experiences that will help me learn it – not text books.

It may seem far fetched, but to justify my argument I pasted a few links below to some of my favorite YouTube videos/channels.  When watching these videos, ask yourself two important questions:

A) Is the knowledge I gained from watching that video less, equal to, or more than what I TOOK AWAY from a semester spent on the same subject?

B) Do I now know whether or not I’m interested in further pursuing that subject?

College Binary – a channel that has a popular series named Three Minute Philosophy, which in 3 minutes explains everything and more than you would take away from a semester worth of class about a specific philosopher: Galileo Galilei

ASAP Science – Condensed, straightforward, and understable scientific answers to subscriber questions on most topics.  Here are a few good ones: Strength and Muscle Growth , Multiple Sclerosis Explained , The Science of Aging

King of Random: How to’s and explanations of some of the most awesome physics and science experiments ever: Solar Panel Light Beam at 2000 Degrees!

If the purpose of taking higher education is to help students find things that they are interested in pursuing, schools are doing a terrible job at reaching their goal.

Sorry if the writing in this post was choppy…I didn’t feel like editing – HAPPY 4th of JULY!



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