Tin tức

Learning take time

Viết bởi: Lê Quốc Chơn, 18 01 2021

It takes many years to achieve expertise in a specific domain because of three reasons. First, there exist a limit learning speed of human. Second, each domain contains the vast amount of information, theories, and facts to know and understand. Third, many skills and knowledge need real life experiences or on-the-job training to master. The latter reason possibly connects with the learning ability of human, information from books and video, or listening does not touch or stimulate deeply understanding, experiences ought to be the learning mechanism.


Why we have a limit learning speed? It is our brain structure, function and energy. We have a limit number of neurons or brain regions ready for learning. We cannot absorb more information than the brain can hold. Furthermore, it takes a little time for short-term memory to convert into long-term memory.

Remembering is not enough, we must process this information and use it regularly to reinforce the specific network of neurons which link with a specific domain of knowledge. Remembering or learning, thinking all connect with energy and matter transformation, movement inside our brain. And the speed of movement or transformation of matter and energy take time, much slower than light speed – the fastest we ever known.

We cannot learn fast a domain because of its huge body of knowledge. We are very good at building up knowledge, steadily over many decades, even centuries. Each domain has core principles, theories, facts and information. One must possess all these, at least to the deepest level in a narrow topic, to innovate, invent or generate new knowledge and technologies. We also need to understand the complex relationship among these data to apply them effectively in solving problems. This latter is about applied science and engineering or professional services. We use our deep expertise to serve some concrete purpose.

The third reason associate with experience. We hardly understand well a domain without experience. This is somehow mysterious. Why we cannot learn from other experiences through reading, listening or observation? Because there are so many aspects of a domain that a book or talk hardly can express fully in detail. There is always a gap between real experience and descriptive text or story. We must experience to feel all these gaps, and to be stretched, pressed until we squeeze our brain, our abilities to face real problems. Sometime, we must suffer to understand the deep connection of natural events and ourselves – to attain wisdom.

These are three reasons why learning takes time and achieving expert status takes time. There is no shortcut to the summit. One can whether narrow the path to a topic to learn faster or learn patiently over many years to build up knowledge and skills. Narrowing down a topic is however a risky choice because we must leave out many general knowledge and skills, those can be interesting for a human existence. This many be the reason why young people should follow holistic education until they find their own mission or calling. In the same token, professional training normally starts at the age after secondary school (15 years of age).

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