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Is Auckland University a place to acquire knowledge or a place to learn? This question was presented to me in my Management 201 lecture and at that time I disregarded it thinking that it was a stupid question and of course Auckland university was a learning institution, why else would I be there? At that time I never stopped to consider it and this made it seem more like an epiphany when I eventually clicked to the idea that maybe there was a difference between learning and knowledge.

A couple of days after that lecture my entire concept of what I knew and how I used it was challenged by someone very close to me and that struck a chord. It was a seemingly trivial issue about using the handbrake in my car when parking, I was taught to use it when parked but it never occurred to me to think why I used it. I realized that this same situation applied to my University work, I was being taught all this information but never thought to find out why I was being taught it or what it meant. This forced me to look back on the question previously posed to me in the lecture, Is Auckland University a learning institution? Am I a learner or merely an acquirer of knowledge.

It got me thinking. All through my life I’ve always just accepted information and thought myself better for having acquired it, I thought I had learnt something. The issue of whether that pretense was false or not never occurred to me until now.

Through primary and secondary education it was the regular thing to do to listen to the teacher and absorb facts, this being the basis for further education and being an invaluable building block for future learning, The assumption always was that when a person reaches university level, they are required to think for themselves and take care of there own learning, that is what my secondary teachers always told me anyway. However this does not seem to be the scenario and I found my self again in the situation of repetitively absorbing information, that was what I was used to doing. The concept that there was a difference between knowledge and learning never occurred to me, until now.

After doing a lot of thinking and evaluation of my learning I’ve come to an inconclusive (definitions of knowledge and learning are open to individuals interpretations of them) conclusion about the meanings of learning and knowledge. Knowledge is the relatively uninvolved acquiring of information, the information is presented to the person be it through a book or a lecturer and is absorbed into the mind, in my case this involves sitting in a lecture theatre, taking notes and then reading the text book. Learning on the other hand I see as an ability of a person to use information and be able to see past all the primary word meanings of it to other levels, learning involves going out and actively, independently seeking information, the process of learning should offer a deeper understanding of knowledge and the perception to not take things at face value, to interpret, to inquire and to analyze.

In answer to the question is Auckland University a learning institution, yes and no. Studying at university or just living life in general can be either a learning experience or a knowledge experience depending on how the individual wants to treat their opportunity to learn they can disregard it or they can cherish and use it. I have been learning, but not very much, the times when I do actively apply, think and practice what I know is when I get the most benefit and students can flutter through University repeating information or they can go further and learn.

After interpreting learning and knowledge as it applies to me I can rightly say that up to this point in my life I have been only acquiring knowledge and learning it in a minimalist way, just enough to get by and be able to regurgitate it when needed. I have not been taking into consideration anything beyond the shallowness of what I have, but I want to make the most out of my knowledge as I can, I want to learn!!

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