Book Learning Vs. Experience

This is a guest post from Adrienne Carlson, taking a look at two different types of learning.

by Adrienne Carlson

It’s a question that has been debated down the ages, one that often has no concrete answer but which has been argued well and hard nevertheless – do we need book knowledge or is practical experience enough to taste and enjoy continued success in life? If book knowledge is all that is needed, why do we need experience to secure a job? And if experience is all that matters, why go to college at all?

The truth is that there are advantages to both book learning and experience, and life is a success only when you’re able to find the right mix of both these vital ingredients. The combination depends on the kind of person you are and the career you choose to enter.

Books vs experience…

Book learning is advantageous when:

  • You need to prove what you know, through an exam or a series of tests.
  • You have to continue to improve and augment your knowledge.
  • You need new facts and information on subjects that are constantly changing and where knowledge is being updated continuously.

Practical experience comes in handy:

  • When you need to do the same things over and over again at your job or elsewhere.
  • When you need to understand the theory behind the concept.
  • When you need to become an expert at what you do
  • When you need to remember what you have read or learned – when you read a recipe from a cookbook, you tend to forget it soon unless you’ve actually prepared the dish a few times. The experience is embedded in your memory and your brain works automatically after the first few times.
  • When you want to learn things on your own. It’s easy to become an expert if you keep trying out what you want to do. You learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat them in the future.

In today’s world, it would seem that experience has the edge over book learning. But even so, most employers would never give you a second look if you haven’t been formally schooled or don’t have a college degree. You may have been working all your life, but the best jobs often go to those with the best education. So while experience is important, it loses its value unless built on a solid foundation of book learning, one that has been built brick by brick through school and college.

Agree? Disagree? Don’t care either way? Let’s talk!

About The Author: Adrienne Carlson regularly writes on the topic of accelerated online degree. Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: