Is it possible to learn from books?

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In summary, when it comes to learning mathematics and physics, there are two possible outcomes when using books. Either the reader becomes frustrated and does not understand the material, or they have learned from another source and find the book to be a helpful reinforcement of their knowledge. Some people find it difficult to learn solely from books and prefer to have feedback from others, such as a tutor or online forums. Books may also contain errors, but they are still considered a reliable source compared to the unregulated internet. It is important to actively engage with the material while reading, such as doing exercises and taking notes, in order to fully understand and retain the information.
  • #1
jostpuur
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I've come to notice, that when it comes to learning new things (I'm talking about mathematics and physics), either of the following two things happen with books:

1. I try to learn from the book, and get frustrated, because I don't understand it.

2. I learn the things somewhere else, for example on some course by going to exercise sessions, and after learning it, I read the book and happily see that things that I already know are being mentioned there.

*snif* :frown:
 
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  • #2
yes but it's more difficult to learn from any medium where you have no feedback, thus physics forums. Thus lecturers, thus education.

I have spent the last 3 years learning from books, and I can honestly say without some sort of feedback both from people I worked with and this forum, it would have been much harder to learn the material, particularly because I'd had a gap between when I dropped out of college( pre University education, UK) and when I started to study again, so I was essentially coming in with a real deficit.

Books are a very good learning tool, but they really are better with continuous feed back. I had a tutor I could ask questions of, but this was limited by being remote from the person in question.
 
  • #3
jostpuur said:
I've come to notice, that when it comes to learning new things (I'm talking about mathematics and physics), either of the following two things happen with books:

1. I try to learn from the book, and get frustrated, because I don't understand it.

2. I learn the things somewhere else, for example on some course by going to exercise sessions, and after learning it, I read the book and happily see that things that I already know are being mentioned there.

*snif* :frown:

I can learn from books only when I do all exercises.
 
  • #4
That's practically all I do. I expect the professor to elaborate or help out, but I spend most of my studying time in front of my book, going over examples, etc.
 
  • #5
Book learning is definitely hard. It will generally take you several reads to fully understand something, assuming the text provides you with enough information. Just keep at it: I find if I stare at something long enough it starts to magically make sense.
 
  • #6
It is absolutely impossible for anyone to ever learn anything from a book. Anybody who tells you they have is lying.
 
  • #7
Some books have minor or even major mistakes... It is better to use internet, ^__^.. Well, sometimes, books are hard to understand because the author made the topic more broad. haha
 
  • #8
Ephratah7 said:
Some books have minor or even major mistakes... It is better to use internet, ^__^.. Well, sometimes, books are hard to understand because the author made the topic more broad. haha

A book has to be reviewed and edited before being published, the internet does not.

One can learn from a book but understanding what you're reading is in the doing. I find it useful to have some scrap paper when I'm reading so any point in the text where it says x was derived from y and z, I like to do on the scrap paper. I also like to do all the exercises if possible and I have folders full of completed exercises from textbooks. Just these small things make a huge difference. You don't really learn much from reading alone.
 
  • #9
Kurdt said:
A book has to be reviewed and edited before being published, the internet does not.

One can learn from a book but the act of understanding what you're reading is in the doing. I find it useful to have some scrap paper when I'm reading so any point in the text where it says x was derived from y and z, I like to do on the scrap paper. I also like to do all the exercises if possible and I have folders full of completed exercises from textbooks. Just these small things make a huge difference. You don't really learn much from reading alone.

Well, yes, true. But I'm telling the truth. Some of my books have minor mistakes... sometimes, major..
 
  • #10
Ephratah7 said:
Well, yes, true. But I'm telling the truth. Some of my books have minor mistakes... sometimes, major..

I wasn't denying they didn't have mistakes. I have spotted many in my time and along with the completed exercises the folders contain lists of errors in the texts. I was just pointing out that if books undergo these rigorous checks and still have mistakes then imagine what kind of mistakes the unregulated internet has.
 
  • #11
Kurdt said:
I wasn't denying they didn't have mistakes. I have spotted many in my time and along with the completed exercises the folders contain lists of errors in the texts. I was just pointing out that if books undergo these rigorous checks and still have mistakes then imagine what kind of mistakes the unregulated internet has.

Well, it depends who made the book, ... It's ok if you won't believe me. Since you're not from Philippines, I guess you haven't heard about a book which contains major mistakes and lots of parents and teachers are complaining.
 
  • #12
billiards said:
It is absolutely impossible for anyone to ever learn anything from a book. Anybody who tells you they have is lying.

I find this an amazing statement :bugeye:
 
  • #13
Interesting. I have another take.

When learning things, a person has to have the place-holders in their mind, and let the brain, manage the space. No expectations, mean the prepared set, will be the same as before, and as space becomes limited, confusion steps in as data is excluded. Expect to double your work or stay at home.

The need to keep track of more variables at one time, grows with the increase in knowledge due to higher and higher education. Piaget notes the way children's brains expand at certain growth stages and how the knowledge retains itz character. For our purposes, we have to manage a few things, the primary aspect, being the capacity to accommodate the information, as mentioned, and thereafter, the ability to lay out the information, in a way that permits the brain to communicate a conscious understanding.

How books are laid out, the separation of information, data, how terms are introduced, what foundations are taken for granted, and ways to convert the information within the book to knowledge, play a large part in learning by reading.
 
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  • #14
Ephratah7 said:
Well, it depends who made the book, ... It's ok if you won't believe me. Since you're not from Philippines, I guess you haven't heard about a book which contains major mistakes and lots of parents and teachers are complaining.

Yes, since I'm also from the Philippines. The book you're talking about is "Asya". Lots of parents are complaining indeed.

But not all books have "mistakes".
 
  • #15
plug in both ends of the USB cable into your head and USB port in text and press download.
 
  • #16
Oerg said:
plug in both ends of the USB cable into your head and USB port in text and press download.

hehe.. hope it will work.
 
  • #17
Oerg said:
plug in both ends of the USB cable into your head and USB port in text and press download.

How domains are laid out, the separation of information, data, how terms are introduced, what foundations are taken for granted, and ways to convert the information within the domain to knowledge, play a large part in learning by downloading.
 
  • #18
Asya? a famous book in Philippines
 
  • #19
billiards said:
It is absolutely impossible for anyone to ever learn anything from a book. Anybody who tells you they have is lying.

vanesch said:
I find this an amazing statement :bugeye:

Perhaps I'm just paranoid, but to me it appeared to be saying, that my original question was stupid :biggrin:
 
  • #20
enricfemi said:
Asya? a famous book in Philippines

yes. high school students are using that book...
 
  • #21
billiards said:
It is absolutely impossible for anyone to ever learn anything from a book. Anybody who tells you they have is lying.

Wrong. I learn from books all the time. It requires discipline, but it can certainly be done.
 
  • #22
billiards said:
It is absolutely impossible for anyone to ever learn anything from a book. Anybody who tells you they have is lying.

Really now?:rolleyes:

vanesch said:
I find this an amazing statement :bugeye:

I'd have to agree there.:-p
 
  • #23
i'm pretty sure billiards was joking

i prefer books above any other means of learning
 
  • #24
I find books hard to learn from as well, but teachers can be just as hard for me. I found a mistake in our science book. It said a set of data added up to 101%.
 
  • #25
binzing said:
I find books hard to learn from as well, but teachers can be just as hard for me. I found a mistake in our science book. It said a set of data added up to 101%.

You should use a book that has numerous editions and has been around for awhile. It should be in use by most universities.

The chances for errors are really small as any errors would already have been corrected in previous publications in earlier editions.
 
  • #26
binzing said:
I find books hard to learn from as well, but teachers can be just as hard for me. I found a mistake in our science book. It said a set of data added up to 101%.
Did you ever think a few pointers from a stranger may help? No one teaches you, how to learn, most teachers take it for granted, that students can learn, and the only reason they give tests is students to show, they have learned. It's a really primitive way, but all that is available at this point in time.
 

Related to Is it possible to learn from books?

1. Can you really learn from just reading books?

Yes, reading books is a great way to learn. Books are a valuable source of knowledge and can provide in-depth information on various topics. By reading books, you can gain new insights, expand your understanding, and acquire new skills.

2. Is it better to learn from books or hands-on experiences?

Both methods of learning have their own benefits. Books can provide a strong foundation and theoretical knowledge, while hands-on experiences can offer practical skills and real-life application. It is best to combine both methods for a well-rounded learning experience.

3. Are some subjects better learned from books than others?

It ultimately depends on the individual and their learning style. Some subjects may be easier to understand through visual aids and hands-on activities, while others may require more reading and comprehension. However, books can be a valuable resource for learning any subject.

4. Can books replace traditional education?

No, books cannot replace traditional education completely. While books can provide a great deal of knowledge, traditional education also offers interactive learning experiences, guidance from teachers, and opportunities for collaboration with peers, which are important for a well-rounded education.

5. Is it possible to learn from books without any prior knowledge on the subject?

Yes, books can be a great starting point for learning about a new subject. They often provide background information and explanations that can help you understand the basics before delving into more advanced material. However, some prior knowledge and understanding can also be beneficial for better comprehension.

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