By doing

In the last year I’ve seen dozens, if not hundreds, of courses offering to teach you anything from axe making, to developing in JavaScript, to self-publishing and countless others. The ability to learn almost anything for a little sweat equity and less than the cost of a month of cable TV is encouraging.

“I know Kung Fu”

We live in a time in history where anyone with an internet connection can click a button and start learning a new skill. It’s like the scene in The Matrix where Neo downloads martial arts into his brain to take on Agent Smith.

If you remember what happens next, it wasn’t quite that easy. Neo still had to apply the skills he acquired to be proficient. The knowledge was just the beginning. It wasn’t until he sparred with Morpheus, that the skills started to be developed.

Learn by doing

I bet I’ve signed up for ten courses in the last year. All but two of which, I’ve completed the curriculum. In doing so I’ve increased my knowledge base considerably. But it’s only the ones that I’ve started projects and put the knowledge to use that I’ve actually learned anything. I learned by doing.

To me this is the difference between knowledge and learning. Knowledge is the information we acquire. Learning is what happens when skills are being developed.

In the past I think I’ve been too caught up in knowledge instead of learning. It’s the skills that come from learning that I can use to make something happen. What use is knowledge if there’s nowhere for it to live in the world?

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