Sunday, January 09, 2005

Learner and Trainee

There is a stark difference between learning and training. Many are going to scoff at this, but just take it with a pinch of salt if you wish:

when your teachers tell you, "please ask others immediately whenever you have questions", they are actually hindering your progress of learning.

Throughout the years, I find myself learning stuff differently from some others; and though not intending to boast myself, more often than not I do master certain skills or discipline faster and more dexterously. Many take that as a sign of intelligence, but I can't single that as the only cause. Take an example, let's say the usage of a piece of a new instrument (computer, hi-fi, software or any other you can think of). When many people are confronted with a new computer, the spontaneous reaction is, "So what should I click on" or "What's next" or "Can I click on that button?". To say the least, this is the subliminal effect of our teacher's adage, ask before you do. Now, wrong, wrong, wrong! While this proved to be the safest way to work around the society and the greatest common denominator of public education, the principle is certainly not a good way of learning. SO what do many people do? They ask for steps, instructions at once, they get it, they practice and regurgitate the steps, and they think that they have LEARNT. Twist the situation a bit, they are shackled.

So this is the situation of our education system - mostly rote memorisation. Here in my beloved country Malaysia, the method is used exclusively in almost all subjects. Even in mathematics I happened to learn that some students tried to memorise all the possible question "types" and their respective "solutions" so that they would hit it in the exam. Sadly they are the ones who scored the worst in the exam. They are not to be mocked at, but I digress.

Going back to "learner vs trainee", to me the difference is a learner learns from his mistakes, while a trainee learns not to make mistakes. If I were to make an analogy, I would liken a learner as a mountaineer who scales the mountain by jungle paths, while a trainee as a traveller who ascends the mountain by climbing stairs. Yes, both of them do reach the acme; and yes, the mountaineer gets bruises and wounds. But at the end of the day, the disparity of skills between them is nothing less than obvious. And I am sure that the mountaineer will move on to conquer another peak.

Hence try to be a learner. I believe that I have always been one, in all my involvements.


Eric Fu said...

I agree! But at times, it is not easy to refrain yourself from asking when you face some difficulties. Curiosity coupled with impatience makes you ask your friends for help...

youngyew said...

eric fu: Yea, I agree... I guess my point is, do try to do everything by yourself first before asking for help. I believe this way we can learn much more in-depth.