The Best Mode of Learning

Kamal Kanta Dhungel

Once I attended some short-term online courses. I found them very effective for the detailed and minute study of the topics I liked most. They gave me in-depth insight into particular topics. Later, I realized that this is just one mode of learning. In fact, it was the informal mode of education. In addition, there are several modes of education such as formal education and non-formal or incidental education.

Formal education is often called the traditional and orthodox way of teaching. It is carried out under an organizational structure with a robust curriculum, periodic lectures, homework assignments, assessments, annual examinations, etc. It is considered the toughest mode of education.

I am fond of observing my surroundings while traveling, whether walking, flying, or taking a bus. While trekking, I often notice the plants and animals, which gives me knowledge about the characteristics of various wild animals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, vertebrates, and mammals. I can easily remember many points related to these groups of animals. Moreover, it makes it easy to remember the features of bryophytes, pteridophytes, thallophytes, trees, bushes, cryptogams, phanerogams, algae, pine trees, etc.

Similarly, a flying bird or airplane illustrates the concept of Bernoulli’s theorem. A bus journey vividly demonstrates Newton’s first and second laws of motion, as well as concepts like uniform and non-uniform motion, distance, displacement, acceleration, retardation, and friction. In the kitchen, hot objects on the stove and the refrigerator teach me about thermodynamics. Watching TV, using a mobile phone, or looking in a mirror provides insights into various optical concepts. A fish in a pond or aquarium demonstrates the refraction of light. Listening to the radio, or even being in a noisy environment, helps me understand sound energy. The sun itself is a natural lesson in heat energy. Although these observations might seem trivial, they are actually part of incidental education.

To sum up, knowledge is disseminated everywhere around us. However, the right person with an attentive eye or ear is needed to gather and absorb it. Education or knowledge is not confined to school or college. Broadly speaking, education includes three major modes: formal, informal, and incidental.

Formal education is essential for academic certification and career purposes. Informal education is crucial for training, updating, and upgrading knowledge and confidence in any subject matter. It is flexible in time, so it can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, often at little or no cost. This is particularly beneficial for working professionals.

The most natural and easy mode of education can be considered incidental education, which occurs spontaneously at any time and place. Sometimes we are aware of it, and sometimes we are not.

In conclusion, all modes of education have their own features. It is up to us to choose the best mode for our needs and to identify which is the most effective. Some view education as mere book knowledge, while others see it as the development of the whole person. It is up to us to choose the definition of education that best fits our lives.