Beyond Books: A New Kind of Learner

Beyond Books: A New Kind of Learner
Many of us spend our lives following conventional wisdom: which, among other things, sees reading books as a very productive activity. Many spend their hard-earned money on buying original versions of dead pages.

However, this notion is now changing. Especially in developed countries such as Finland and Singapore, where they are doing away with books and even subjects. Instead they are focusing on experiential learning. They call this mode of education “Phenomenon Education System”. This article looks at the shortcomings of book reading and its solutions being used globally.

How can books be counterproductive?

We live in a post-modern world, which is done with metanarratives. Now people believe that truth is relative and they count on finding their own truth and realities. The internet has played a vital role in this regard. People now have access to unlimited knowledge. They are no longer bound to stick to a specific discipline. One can be a student of history and still be able learn economics or sociology. Moreover, people can now easily find relevant information: knowledge that is tailor-made to satisfy their needs and demands. They don’t have to scroll through hundreds of dead pages to get to their desired piece of information. One click can do that for them. Books not only provide irrelevant information but also hinder the theme, flow and rhythm of learning. In this fast, rapid and dynamic world, books are now getting outdated and counterproductive.

How the Experiential Learner is different

Think of all the books that a person studies through their school and college years. If counted, the number will be in scores. However, if asked to present that knowledge; they will not be able to speak for 5 minutes or write a single page. Where does all that knowledge go? The answer is that it is a basic human tendency to forget unnecessary information. On the other hand, knowledge gained through experiment, observation, conversations, critical thinking and creativity is retained in the long-term memory and is life-long. So people should strive to learn by “doing.”

Phenomenon Education System
This method of teaching focuses on topics rather than subjects. It implies a learner-centered approach, in which students research about a specific topic by using multidisciplinary investigative techniques. For example, a student is asked to research about prevailing conditions of Afghanistan and its possible consequences for Pakistan. This makes it necessary to gain knowledge of various disciplines to gain a wholesome and comprehensive understanding of the topic.


There’s no doubt that books can be excellent company and an amazing source of knowledge. But relying purely on books can be harmful. The need of the hour is to expand our horizons by utilizing techniques like experiential learning and Phenomenon Education Systems, to achieve a better, comprehensive educational experience that result in long-term learning.