Studying and Learning

Doing well in school required us to get good at studying. To study, per the dictionary, is to devote time and attention to acquiring knowledge on (an academic subject), especially by means of books. 

Studying, however, is different from learning. To learn is to gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in something by study, experience, or being taught.

The (albeit subtle) difference lies in the outcome. Studying is focused on the process of acquiring knowledge while learning involves practical application. The real test of learning is what we end up doing with what we learn.

The challenge with teaching learning in schools is that learning is hard to test in a final exams. So, we fall back to testing students’ ability to study. Of course, the obvious downside of this approach is that it is likely we end up completing two decades in schools without a good understanding of how to learn.

The good news is that our education didn’t end with graduation. There is still time to learn how to learn. And, the beauty of learning is that we see the results of what we’ve learnt in our actions every day. To learn and not to do is not to learn. So, if we aren’t actually evolving and improving how we approach our days – every day, it is time to revisit how we learn.

It is the highest leverage thing we can do with our time. After all, studying might have helped us do well in school. But, learning helps us do well in life.