To learn is to acquire (knowledge and skills), to hear, to study, to read (WordNet). Learning is an integral part of human existence. It is responsible for the sustenance of human lives on earth. Without learning, we would all become extinct.
One of the things we learn as humans is adaptation techniques. For example, our progenitors learned what to eat and what not to eat and this information has been passed down from generation to generation. Our learning ability is said to be a major distinguishing factor between humans and other life forms.
Learning could be active or passive. Passive learning, in a sense, means that once your five senses are working, you are constantly learning. The preferred form of learning, however, is active learning. This is a case in which you deliberately choose what to learn as against a situation where what you learn is dumped on you.
Importance of learning
The main advantage of learning is that it results in knowledge acquisition, which when applied lead to advancement in the society. One can infer that the ultimate reason for learning is for it to translate to improvement in the well-being of people. Any learning that does not achieve this objective is not worthwhile.
Effects of Learning
Bob Gass, the author of ‘The Word for Today’ aptly remarked, “Don’t let learning lead to knowledge – let it lead to action!” When learning stops at knowledge acquisition without translating to societal advancement, it causes all kinds of problems. This is where the developed nations differ markedly from underdeveloped nations. In fact, the developed nations achieved their developed status through the translation of learning into advancement.
In our clime, we seem content with knowledge acquisition only. It’s in our environment that you find a job seeker with two doctorate degrees! Conversely, in North America, for instance, you find many first generation multi-millionaires without a University degree.
Our craze for unapplied knowledge results in information overload – a direct consequence of not putting knowledge acquired to use. Most of people here are constipated with knowledge! Loaded with too much unapplied knowledge, most of us have become irritable.
Knowledge-induced information overload also bring about a stinking orientation to issues. When you don’t apply what you learn, you don’t get to know what works or what doesn’t work. As a result, you find people going about with dated knowledge. Unfortunately, because they have no clues that the things they have in their heads don’t work, they carry on with arrogance. Needless to say, this is the worst type of arrogance – arrogance that stems from ignorance.
The prevailing level of individual, institutional and national arrogance in my part of the globe is alarming. You find this arrogance in the quality of service you get when you visit most organizations – private and public. People attend to you as if they are doing you a favour.
The overarching effect is that we have a society that is not making any progress. People are pre-occupied with making money, which in itself is not a problem but for the fact that money is being made without value addition. We have millionaires with no productive inclination.
Unfortunately, the spiritual centres are not spared from the decadence that has permeated the society. A friend once told me he was ashamed when his Asian customer told him that Nigerians are religious but ungodly people. According to the Asian man, he sees people trooping out of worship centres on Fridays and Sundays but their attitudes immediately they come out of these centres do no portray them as good ambassadors of the God they serve.
The Scripture says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22 -KJV). In effect, it’s deceitful to do nothing with what you know because you may think what you know is valuable when in actual fact, it’s impractical. The practicability of what you know is determined when you’ve put it into action.
When we do nothing with the word of God that we hear, for instance, we don’t benefit from what it offers. If we continue with this attitude for a while, we become insulated to the power in the Word to change us. And yet a little longer, we become cynical and say the Word doesn’t work. That’s why the only claim some have to being Christians is the number of years they have spent in the church, any other evidence is scarcely visible.
Key learning point
The pitfall of learning is the tendency to continue to acquire knowledge just for the sake of it. There’s nothing wrong with being a knowledgeable person. However, the most rewarding life is when you’re someone that gets things done. And to get things done, you must translate the knowledge you acquire through learning into action.