GRE Issue Essay 130

“The depth of knowledge to be gained from books is much richer and broader than what can be learned from direct experience.”

Books are a vast source of knowledge. They give detailed information about the history, geography, science, literature, religion and social trends of different places all over the world. They give descriptions of other planets which is difficult for a common man to acquire through direct experience. Although, the significance of books can not be undermined, learning through direct experience has its own importance.

While books can guide us in dealing with people of different psychologies, it is first hand experience that makes us truly successful at it. For instance, there are many well qualified parents who are not half as good as the teachers of their tiny tots, when it comes to teaching. The teachers not only apply their training for the job but also keep learning through their direct dealings with so many kids, year after year. Without experience, even the over qualified can not do justice to a job.

The importance of learning-by-doing is reflected in almost all the subjects being studied at school. Though there are text books for knowledge and guidance, one must practice mathematics to actually solve the problems. Similarly, all the reading of text can not make a child well conversant in languages unless practice through conversation is done. If books are sources of facts and theories in science subjects, then an equal emphasis is laid upon experiments. This is for the simple reason that direct experience has a more lasting effect. Besides, it becomes easy to accept and relate to different established laws, when one verifies them practically.

The science and social science exhibitions held annually, further strengthen the fact that learning by direct experience plays a vital role in consolidating the acquired knowledge. Thus, these exhibitions include various projects in the form of static models, working models, displays, activities and even experiments. In addition to this, students are taken to public service centers like banks, hospitals, railway stations, etc. to give first hand experience

Above and beyond this, tours and expeditions are organized in the form of educational trips to familiarize students with different states/countries in order to develop in them a better understanding of those places, their weather, people and their culture.

Identically, although there are plenty of well written books on various computer languages and software available, it is practically impossible to retain and apply that knowledge without the direct experience of working on a computer. In the same fashion, one may gather various text books on rules and regulations and techniques to play different sports like cricket, hockey, chess, and badminton, but the actual learning can take place only after the direct experience of playing the sport itself. A doctor or lawyer may study a lot through text books to gain knowledge, but it is through real life experience of treating the patient or prosecuting a criminal, that they gain expertise.

Thus, it can be concluded that though books are a rich source of knowledge and guidance on a wide range of subjects, learning through direct experience is vital for our day to day life.