The Connection Between Learning and Knowledge

The connection between learning and knowledge may be an obvious one, you learn, build knowledge and hence become knowledgeable.  The interesting thing between the two is when you pay attention to what and how you learn you are able to gauge your how quickly you are learning, able to understand exactly what it is you are learning and what constitutes your knowledge.

I’ve learned that there are three stages to learning anything, learning facts, learning from experience and finally composing opinion.  Being able to make an opinion and how convicted one is with that opinion constitutes knowledge.  This does not necessarily mean that an opinion is correct, but only that knowledge and opinion is based on the experience one receives.  This is something that becomes obvious when working with many individuals that come from different backgrounds (having had different jobs, gone to different schools, etc.)  This is also more obvious the more experience individuals have.

For example, when you listen to two people discussing at length differing solutions to a problem you begin to understand that a third of a solution is based on fact which everyone usually agrees on, a third of the solution is based on experience which most with acknowledge would in most cased be correct, but the final third of someone’s solution is purely opinion.  The more experience someone has and the more facts they know, the more an individual is able to substantiate their opinion.

This is important because it can allow someone whom is less experienced to determine their experience level by how they are able to defend their opinion compared to others.  Two people may have the same knowledge of facts and the same experience, but the one whom is best able to defend their opinion is the one whom is best able to understand the knowledge that they have.  So when adversaries are put head to head, the one whom is best able to express their knowledge through their opinion is better suited to win an argument.

The three pieces put together is what essentially builds confidence over time.

Facts + Experience = Knowledge + Opinion = Confidence

A lot of times inexperienced individuals at whatever level may have a lot of confidence and often put their foot in their mouths, this is often due to experience built on a limited set of facts.  Add new facts, and you need to build up the experience around it.  The opinions will then come and eventually, confidence will rebuild itself.

Next time you’re put in a situation where you are knowingly learning a new skill around a group of knowledgeable individuals, Once you realize you are able to form an opinion on the topic and believe you may be able to defend it, then you’ll know you are close to being at the same level as your peers. It’s a very interesting process to go through and a worthwhile goal to strive for.

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