There are two main channels for people to learn knowledge –from books and from experience. Generally, knowledge gained from books is theoretical, that gained from experience is practical. It is difficult to answer which is more important to we people. It depends on the phases and events of our learning. Knowledge learned from books is instructive, which perhaps cannot learn directly from experience. We often hear thunders and see lightning in the sky, and we can easily find that lightning will be seen sooner than sound will be heard. According to our experience alone, we cannot tell why it had happened. But when we learn some physics in textbooks, we will find the answer clearly that because light travels faster than sound does, it takes less time for light to travel the same distance than for sound. Therefore, book knowledge can inform us some useful theories that can give us general ideas and help us understand the real phenomenon better.
In turn, practice knowledge check out the theories gained from books. There is an old Chinese saying that practice is the only criterion of inspecting the truth. So not all knowledge from books is credible, even false. When Aristotle wrote in his transcripts that the earth is the center of our planets, no one doubts this for centuries. However, when Galileo read about it, he did not suspect it at first, but when he made some observation and research, he found it is not the truth. Then comes the new theory—Sun center theory.
In our daily life, we can learn much information from practice. To learn swimming, it is useless to be absorbed in reading skills written in books. Only when you learn it in a swimming pool, can you make it. There are still a lot of things you must learn from your own experience, such as driving a car, riding a bicycle, operating a machine. And the most important is that it is often easier learn knowledge from practice than from books. As far as the average people are concerned, it is natural to learn from experience. Primitive people learned skills hand by hand which is the way they were handed down from one generation to another.
Modern people also learn things in practice. In workshops, leading workers teach apprentices carefully; in activity clubs, teachers teach youngsters to be familiar with their hobbies. It is obvious that all of things considered knowledge gained from practice is more close and direct than from the books.
Therefore, two kinds of knowledge has importance. For research people , knowledge from books is more important, while for our average people, knowledge from practice is more important. As students, we must first learn knowledge from books well, and at the same time we must have the good sense to tell from what is right and what is wrong.
We gain our knowledge about the world and our life from two sources: from experience and from books. These two resources are both important, but which of them is more important?
Knowledge from books forms a very important part of our knowledge structure. In schools and colleges, we learn knowledge which is fundamental to our future career. We learn knowledge from books in order to make our contributions to this society in the future. A student learns mathematic equations and other scientific knowledge and become a scientist or engineer. We will be illiterate and ignorant without learning knowledge from books. Moreover, we acquire knowledge about life and the world by reading books, magazines and newspapers. This is also very important as we cannot experience everything all by ourselves. Therefore books are a very important source of knowledge.
On the other hand, we can't learn everything from a book. “Experience is the best teacher” is an old cliché, but I agree with it. The most important, and sometimes the hardest, lessons we learn in life come from our participation in situations. We learn how to get along with others or how to have self-respect from our experience, not from books. We cannot learn emotional feelings, such as love and care, through books; they come from our real life experience. Knowledge from experience is also a very important supplement to knowledge from books.
Needless to say both learning sources, books and experience, are very important to us. But in my opinion knowledge from experience is more important, because without knowledge from experience, it is impossible to get a real understanding of knowledge from books, and how to apply this knowledge to real world situations.
Books are considered to be the source of all knowledge, but all that one learns through a book is only of theoretical nature in the form of ideas and concepts. It is essential to utilize them in a real environment and experience the knowledge that is learned from books.
Learning is nothing but understanding the world around us. Books, no doubt are a great source of knowledge as it gives us an idea about a particular subject in detail. But all that one could learn from it is limited to the level of knowing how a certain phenomenon occurs, or how a certain concept works. The knowledge gained through books alone cannot help anyone, because what one learns through the books should be put in to use to harvest the benefits. For instance, a person who wants to learn driving can go through various manuals and guides that teach people how to drive, but all this knowledge is useful only when you are actually driving the car on the roads. It would be an utter waste of time if one just reads the books and does not use them for practical purpose.
Learning through experience is always a lot different from learning through books. Let us consider the same example of a person wanting to learn to drive: even if he goes through every book that is available on driving, still it cannot qualify him as an expert driver. This is because of the fact that books about driving can only teach people traffic rules and provide solutions on how to handle certain situations. The situations faced by a driver could be totally different from what he had learnt from a book. Sometimes we find that the real environment is quite different from the one perceived by us through reading books. This is the very reason why, even in educational institutions, all theoretical classes are followed by practical sessions.
Learning through experience can also be more effective than learning through books because one does not envision everything on his own, but is given a chance to experience the reality. The art of driving can be enjoyed only when we are behind the wheels and not when reading it in books. Moreover, any book is actually an account of past experiences, i.e. it is based on the experiences of people who tried to develop a new idea. The books are their experiences, telling us what they already have tried.
Thus from their experiences we can correct ourselves and thus save valuable time and resources. It helps us to concentrate on their failures and to correct them, but they alone cannot teach us everything we need to know. The knowledge learned through books alone cannot help us
to face all the exigencies that we would face in real life situations; we have to practice on our own.
Books are like a guiding light in one's pursuit for knowledge. But it is left to every one of us to experience it first hand and learn new things for the betterment of their lives. So the notion “experience is the best teacher" is perfectly true.
It is true that "Not everything that is learned is contained in books." A person can learn a lot and retain what he learns through experience. In my opinion life’s valuable lessons are learnt from experience and so the knowledge gained from experience is more important.
Books are a great source of information. A person in his lifetime cannot experience everything, but by reading a book on a particular subject he can gain knowledge over that subject in less time. There are books available on any subject that one needs. However experience seems more important to me.
Suppose a person living in the United States wants to learn about India. He has two options: he could visit India and learn about the people and places there or he could just pick up a book about India and read it. The first option will be expensive and time consuming, but at the same time it gives one firsthand information and a sense of satisfaction while the second option is less expensive and saves time.
A person can gain knowledge and learn many valuable lessons through his/her own practical experiences and also the experiences of others. The knowledge learnt from experience is very likely to be retained in our memory for a long period of time. The conclusions that we draw from what we learn would be from our practical experience instead of accepting the conclusion drawn in the book by the author.
So in my opinion knowledge can be gained both by reading books and by experience but the knowledge gained through experience is more important.
Learning, as the name indicates has lot many meanings as to which source one would choose to understand things of his own interest. Books have always been an inevitable part of one's life as they have the ability to make people aware of the different things happening in our world. It is said that not everything that is learned is contained in books. This is in fact true because books can offer us knowledge regarding the things that have happened and sometimes the ways to deal with a situation that one can encounter in his life. I would appreciate the fact that the knowledge gained from experience is much more important than that we receive from books. I would like to further illustrate my reasons as follows:
Everyone would admit the fact that knowledge gained from experience is one that remains in our mind forever. It is correctly said, "Experience is the teacher of man." Being a science student, I have gone through different books where we come across different reactions and experiments, where the results will be shown in the form of diagrams or may be expressed in a simple language. Unless we conduct that experiment we will not know the problems or the difficulties we will have to overcome during the experiments. Textbook knowledge is merely a description of facts and outcomes, whereas the same knowledge when gained through experience teaches us a lot, right from the start till the end and it’s a journey through the various aspects of one process which one might not be aware of and might not be described in the books.
During my undergraduate years I had only knowledge from books and I used to wonder how the experiments are designed and how they are carried out. But, during my post graduate days I had to do a two month nutritional trial on fishes where I had to cope up with everything like procuring tubs and fishes, arranging aeration facilities, preparation of food for the fishes, daily water exchange, samplings, analysis and so on. Now, I am confident of carrying out similar works and the experience that I have gained will remain with me as long as I live. When similar instances occur, we will have more self-confidence and when such aspects are passed on to our juniors, they would also feel happy and confident.
Needless to say books are also very important. What I have mentioned is from my viewpoint as a science student. There are many different subjects where the conduct of work is tough and in such circumstances we gain information from books. Some aspects would be time consuming and tedious and performing such a work with a limited period of time would not be feasible. In such cases, books definitely open a person's eye towards various aspects and give him firsthand information about what he wants to know.
A person who has learned from experience never forgets what has happened and if it was proved a bad thing then he would certainly try to avoid that situation in the future. If something good has happened then he will put his best to further improve it; that in turn will enhance his skill and boost his self-esteem. Knowledge gained by experience can be passed over to others who also are supposed to face the same situation and that helps the person to be aware of what he intends to do. He can even avoid those factors that can affect his performance.
In fact I would rather say that knowledge gained from experience lingers in our minds forever and that boosts our confidence when taking up a similar task. On the other hand, the fact that books are knowledge providers cannot be ignored, because books provide us with lot more information about the different things that are very difficult to be experienced. Hence it can be concluded
that knowledge gained from books is second hand knowledge whereas knowledge that are gained from experience is firsthand and it takes a person through the different hidden intricacies of the task and makes him learn the knowledge in a practical manner.