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Why books are suboptimal for learning

Luke Breuer
2008-03-10 17:34 UTC

Summary
Books appear to be the predominant method for learning new material. I claim there is a better way to present information.

Imagine that you are having a hard time understanding a particular topic in a book. Would it not be nice to be able to search for this topic in other books to see if a different explanation might be more helpful? Would it not be nice to see what concepts this topic depends on, to see if the reason you're having difficulty with the topic at hand is because you don't understand an underlying concept well? Perhaps glancing at more examples than the book provides will aid in your understanding.

Now imagine that you have a book, 95% of which you understand. Would it not be nice to compress sections that you understand so that skimming content is easier?

Might an electronic, collapsible format allow one to skim information more effectively and drill down to more detail when desired? Something like Adaptive Content?
Some analysis
The goal is to present pieces of information to learners that cause the maximum amount of learning with the minimum amount of frustration. This is a process that needs to be catered to each individual learner; something that simply cannot be done with books.