Learning with imitations and variations

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How can you learn something? There are several ways of course. Let’s take the example of imitation and variation.You can try several settings and or learn from a book or in a course. Another good way to learn is to imitate. By imitating things you saw, you will learn your tools and see the underlying principles working. This might also include errors. A professor of mine once said

Errors are the best way to learn, but the easiest way is through the errors of others.

Errors are necessary to show you that the way you took is wrong and they inflict a certain kind of pain. If you want you can interpret it as negative feedback. Of course this is only necessary when you realize the error.

The next step is to introduce variations. And now I am not talking about the errors. Let’s assume you did it right.

In mathematics you might introduce boundary conditions or change the story. In photography you might change the conditions, like time of the day or available lenses. In other fields it might also introduce other tools.

Imitation and variation are a good set of tools to learn something. Especially if you are an autonomous learner or autodidact.

What would you learn? A new way to do something you already know how to do it or a way to do something new?

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