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Memorizing or Learning?

Discussion in 'The Lounge - Off Topic' started by ffreeloader, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    I didn't see a forum that was particularly suited to this, so I finally decided to put it in here.

    After reading several of the posts here lately I'm beginning to wonder what some people consider learning to be. Is learning just memorizing? Can you really learn something IT related just by memorizing the facts associated with the particular subject?

    What is learning to you? Why do you ask questions here? When you have a question what is that you are looking for in an answer?
     
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  2. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    I say it depends on the subject
    I say this because, for some facets of IT, memorizing is the very BEST way to 'learn' it
    however having a fundemental understanding of what you are memorising is essential in this instance
     
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  3. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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    Learning by my definition is to "know" the topic inside out.

    Memorising is just that "facts in your swede that aren't there after 10 pints of SA" :biggrin

    I like to learn, so after 10 pints i still know :biggrin
     
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  4. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    Show me what area of IT is best learned by memorization.

    I understand that some things will need to be memorized, such as switches for different commands in a bash shell for instance, but that's only a very small portion of learning the bash shell. You can't effectively learn the bash shell by memorization alone.

    I know of no part of IT that can learned by memorization alone, or as the primary method of learning. I have yet to come across an area of IT related that is primarily memorization.
     
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  5. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    I think memorization is part of the learning process but not the end of the process. You have to have some idea of where to go and what to do to make things happen on a computer. As you said Freddy, it helps if you know what commands and switches to use in a terminal session and the only way to learn them is to memorize them.

    That being said, you can't *really* learn to administer a system (for example) unless you know the underlying concepts about how it works. Troubleshooting is more than just remembering all the possible causes of a problem. It's the process of reasoning out the issue, trying solutions, observing the result and letting that result tell us what might be going on.

    Ok...just my 2 cents worth.
     
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  6. The_Geek

    The_Geek Megabyte Poster

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    Well, in my job, there are certain aspects that HAVE to be memorized. For example, a /28 block of IP addresses have how many total, how many usable, and what's the subnet? Even though we all have little charts at our desks with all this info on it, it's essential for everyday duties, but to mention you have to know it for Net+, CCNA, etc. So I see this particular aspect of IT that's something that you MUST memorize.
     
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  7. moominboy

    moominboy Gigabyte Poster

    same as boyce, learning a subject is knowing the why and sometimes how.

    memorizing things like , which irq/dma is assigned to what etc. just little basic facts that learning won't help.

    i know what i meant to say but it doesn't sound right now......:dry

    my 2 pence...:tongue
     
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  8. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    the majority of you have summed up what i said nicely
    memorisiation does not mean 'quickly brain dumping everything to pass a test'
    i dont recall saying memorizing alone is whats needed, i said that in some isntances, its the best way to learn
    you can know networking out your ass, doesnt mean you can configure a cisco switch, or a hp switch, or an extreme switch
    knowing those command syntaxes is a form of memorisation, like it or not, and its required if your using them on a daily basis


    the procedure for reseting a password in AD, did i learn that? or have i memorised it? im pretty sure I can do it with my eyes closed because its memorised

    your splitting the two (learing and memorising) like they are not intertwined in a very fundemental way
    the fact is they are
     
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  9. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    Well, the title does suggest that is what I might be trying to do, but it isn't. I'm trying to point out to some of the posters here that memorizing isn't necessarily the same as learning. That's why I was trying to push you to show where memorization was learning. FWIW I don't believe memorization is learning. It's just memorization.

    We have a few posters that just seem to want answers to questions, but don't really seem to understand what they are asking, nor define questions in a way that would lead someone to believe that they are doing anything other than memorizing data. And that isn't learning, that's getting ready to regurgitate data.

    The point being that regurgitating data won't fit anyone to actually do any job in the IT field.
     
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  10. nugget
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    nugget Junior toady

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    So freddy, what exactly is 'learning'?

    My answer, memorization!!

    Almost everything you say or do is a result of memorization. How did you learn to walk? If you say "I learnt it" then I will ask you how did you learn it! You learnt it because your brain memorized all the tiny things that are needed to make your muscles move how you want. In fact the brain has done it so well that you don't even have to think about it anymore.

    The same goes for learning to talk. I bet that when you were in school you had to recite words over and over again. What did this accomplish? It made you memorize many words so that today you have a large vocabulary.

    Depending on the attitude of the person (like yourself for example), 'memorizing' comes easier or for others harder.
     
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  11. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    How about some definitions...
     
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  12. Dream_In_Infrared

    Dream_In_Infrared Nibble Poster

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    Given my previous background I have a very passionate opinion on this subject. To me learning is partly about factual recall but is more importantly about having enough understanding to apply what an individual has learned an adapt it to new situations. It is more than being an automaton that can react to stimuli in a pre-programmed way, it is about thinking on your feet, using what you know to think through a problem, to work out a solution to a circumstance you have not experienced before. Leaning is about developing skills, attributes that can be developed over time through experience, which build on the basic foundation provided by factual recall.

    There is a particular saying I have heard, "you only learn to drive once you have passed your driving test". I assume this notion is applicable to work in the IT indusrty. Some people gain certs to prove what they already know, certifying their previously obtained knowledge, but many gain certs as a way of moving into an area. They have a cert that says they 'know' a subject, but it is my guess that it is only with time and experience in the field that these person will really come to know this area.

    Memorisation is useful but without learning a person has no ability to grow and move beyond what they originally learned.
     
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  13. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    DII, Agree totally, this is why I said it all depends on the sorts of things you are learning as to the best method


    As a network designer I am put in situations like that constantly, to apply my skills to a unique set of client requirements, and to come up with a solution that fits them, not churn out the same solution to 20 clients

    this requires that I know networking, that I know the systems I am implementing, that I know there strengths and weaknesses, that I know the technology behind them
    at the same time, a level of memorisation is required that gets used again and again throughout
    I know that model X of switch has X ports and X GB throughput, I know that to configure multi area OSPF I need to do X, I know that XYZ is not the same as ZYX

    one may consider knowing the terminology of a switch, or the models of a router to be pointless, and something easily referenced on a per case basis, but if it makes my job easier, if it makes it easier to answer a question by a client, then its of benefit to me, and I count it as part of my knowledge

    memorising is NOT applicable in all situations, you will find most end users memorise locations of icons and menu options, rather than know how the menu systems work, a new version of outlook say, can throw them off track and cause 100 calls to the helpdesk because the spellcheck button has moved
    learning an interface though, means I can sit infront of practically ANY application with a common interface, and work out how to use it,

    I'll say again, both have thier place, and I feel both go hand in hand, and I still believe that for some parts of IT, memorisation is the best way to learn, thats not to say however, that in others it's not totally pointless :)
     
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  14. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    I understand where Freddy is coming from here. We have talked about this topic briefly in other threads.

    I believe the learning process changes as you grow older. Young people find memorising things easier than us older folks. I find it really hard to memorise anything, my short term memory is almost nonexistent these days. For me it is a complete waste of time to just memorise something, I have to understand the concepts so that they make logical sense, then it sticks for what seems like forever. That is why *hands on* is so important in IT. Working with the subject of your studies in the real world or your lab will teach you far more than reading words and memorising them ever will.
     
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  15. Frontier

    Frontier Byte Poster

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    I think in any case to learn something you have to read and understand it fully not just remember it :biggrin
     
  16. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    I'd like to point something out here. The following definitions come from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.

    That's the first definition of learn in what is the best known dictionary in the US. Maybe it is in Britain too, I wouldn't know.

    The number 2 definition is to memorize.

    I'd like to point out why I don't think memorization is learning. I can memorize facts about networking until I'm blue in the face, but if I don't have the understanding to put those facts into, they are totally worthless to me. They will do me absolutely no good. All they do is take up brain cells.

    However, if I learn to understand how networking works, and then begin to memorize data that I can put into that framework of understanding, the data is now valuable.

    Data will naturally be memorized if the first goal is understanding. The reverse is not true. Said logically, Understanding is sufficient for data. Data is not sufficient for understanding.
     
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  17. Dream_In_Infrared

    Dream_In_Infrared Nibble Poster

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    Totally agree Bluerinse. The best way to learn is to 'encode' what you want to remember and learning by experience is one way of achieving this. This is how we move what we have learned from short-term to long-term memory which in turn improves our chances of not forgetting what we have learned. This is why 'brain dump' learning is an issue!
     
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  18. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    When we learn rather than memorize what we learn goes into "chrystallized" memory. It's rarely forgotten. I can remember things I "learned" 30 years ago just like it was yesterday. I can't recall anything I memorized from back then.

    I also have to say that the older I get the more important the concepts become. I can learn concepts much easier today than I can memorize, and that's from someone who used to have partially photographic memory. When I was young all I had to do was read a book once and I could tell you where to find anything in that book. I couldn't learn concepts nearly as fast as I can today though. Today I "see" the vast majority of concepts almost as fast as I read them.

    It's funny how the brain changes as we age. It seems that for everything we lose we gain something else.
     
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  19. Bluerinse
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    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Yup, lose your hair and gain a beer belly :biggrin
     
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  20. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    LOL. My hair didn't slide that far. All those muscles that the girls used to ogle slid though. What were once pecs now look like a beer belly.... :oops: :twisted:
     
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