You can be BOTH.
Yes, I have this discussion over and over with my students.
Every so often, students challenge me to explain why they should bother learning from a book (or any text information) when they are going to be working “hands-on” anyway.
There is this pervasive idea in society that if you are a “book learner” you can’t possibly fix your own car or cook a decent meal, or even build a bookcase for your own books!
Alternatively, if you are a “hands-on” learner, you can’t learn anything from books or from writing – so why bother!
I totally disagree.
Why limit yourself.
Most true “hands-on” learners have learned a lot from books or other text information. Many of them are very good at writing down directions or explanations as well. Also, they continue to look for new information either in books, online blogs, or other places. Of course, they use videos, pictures, and other available resources, but they don’t completely ignore text information.
Many “book learners” are very good at repairing things or creating with their hands. There are many artists who are voracious book readers. They don’t limit themselves unless they, too, have bought into the myth that one can’t cross over that invisible line.
I suggest to my students to be open to all learning experiences. You can learn how to do something directly from a person in the field. Then, you can look for more information to confirm or find alternative ways to approach the same task, making decisions yourself about what works best.
You might even find a combination of techniques that works better not only for yourself but also for others.
Book learners, if you have been reading about a particularly interesting topic or just come across something in a novel – like making cheese, you could access a professional in that field to try doing it yourself.
I know, I know, I hear you groaning and thinking that this is not true. We all know bookworms who seem to have difficulty doing anything with their hands other than turning pages – or clicking a mouse. The truth is that if you never actually try anything else than you will be clumsy and awkward (and probably embarrassed) until you’ve tried it over and over and over and over…..
Here is a related statement that is going to make you yell at me: “Children are not that great at using electronic devices.”
Well, they aren’t automatically. Why are they so good at video games, social media, texting, etc? Because they are constantly practising (i.e., doing), spending hours and hours trying and retrying. If you spent the same amount of time on any exercise or task, you would become a professional as well.
You CAN be both a book learner and a hands-on learner. You might lean one way or another. We all have preferences, but there is no need to limit yourself.
Jump into any learning opportunity that interests you with no fear!
A small video on the same topic: Video
Ronald J. Johnson