(And please, please read this post, not just the headline, before commenting.)
If you haven't practiced, you haven't learned.
To paraphrase Abe Lincoln, who said "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe,"
I would say, "Give me six hours to learn something and I will spend the last four practicing."
Now, a digression/caveat: In the same way that:
- knowing how to read offloads memory, so to does
- using well designed and supported applications offloads learning about processes and even simple facts (if you count the spell-checker), (having said that, there might be a competitive advantage in using a tool that is not infinitely well supported, and I can only hope my competitors are too lazy and whiny to learn how to use it well) and
- learning basic techniques such as Instant Messaging with your network and using Google offloads having to store large quantities of "just-in-case" facts and even perspectives. [FOR ALL RESPONDERS - THIS MEANS ASKING OTHER PEOPLE FOR HELP - SORRY FOR BEING OBLIQUE]
- It is easy to think you understand how to do something (specifically, a big skill) theoretically. Although gaining a theoretical understanding before hand, the locker-room before the game conversation to discuss strategy, is still critical.
- There is significant work in transferring that skill to the real world. That work includes both mapping the big skill to real life options, and then practicing that in a diversity of situations.
- Both the mapping and practice are hard, and if not done, the intellectual transfer is stunted. In most cases, students will not do either on their own, wasting the resources spent on the program.
- All academic programs, despite majors, teach mostly the same thing: how to behave in a classroom, how to write a paper (including basic researching and analysis), how to take a test. That is it.
- One reason I like sims is that they can provide the mapping through a good interface, and provide a place to practice. That doesn't make it less hard for students to map and transfer, but it allows them to happen predictably and while the students are still in the program, not hoping they will do it after.