Thursday, May 29, 2008

Travel to Learn

I recently came across this article in the eLearn magazine about the advantages/effectiveness of learning while traveling and it brought a flood of memories from my student days.
For one, I remember doing a lot of my assignments while traveling. (Not sure if that qualifies as learning though!)
I remember writing science journals, class assignments, et al on train rides to college. But, trains are easier to work in. My most accomplished feats were when I managed to complete engineering assignments on horrendously bumpy bus rides to college. Precariously balancing the files on your knees while trying to maintain a modicum of handwriting consistency on a peak-hour crowded bus is definitely not easy!
More importantly, the most studying I've done for almost every college exam has also probably been on my way to the college or exam center! We called it "revision" but, well, I think I retained most information from the 30-minute train/bus ride than the long days and nights of studying I did before the exams. (I think approaching deadlines do that to me. I’m more motivated if I know that the end to the misery is close by!)
I’ve also done a lot of analysis and reviews for projects when traveling. Taking printouts to read and jotting down notes on them have worked quite well for me. I’ve hit upon some really neat ideas on the train. Sometimes, a break from the usual surroundings works wonders for mental/writers’/designer’s blocks.
However, I also believe that we should not use all our traveling time or always use our traveling time for work and study. Because, for me, the travel time was also some quality “me” time. It gave me the space and the time to reflect and plan my day, my week…my life. It gave me the time to sort out things, dream, and basically just relax inspite of the crowds and the mad jostling for seats. Come to think of it, maybe that is also learning - from life.

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