Quality Blog

Jim's Gems: Learning and Understanding

June 23, 2009
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Continuing to learn is fundamental to adding to our knowledge and understanding. Plato said, "The learning and knowledge that we have is, at the most, but little compared with that of which we are ignorant." Interesting quote but it is basic to the argument of continuing our search for knowledge and ability to add to our quality of life.

Sometimes learning can feel like a chore. Sometimes it seems that learning is just the mundane, yet necessary, thing we must do before we undertake whatever it is we really want, or have, to do.

Yet learning is much more than that. In addition to showing us what action to take, learning also can significantly increase the effectiveness of our actions. It is not merely an obligatory step on the path to action. Learning has a value all its own, a value that lasts long after we've completed whatever it was that compelled us to learn in the first place.

Learning not only enables us to know what and how. It also provides us the opportunity to understand why. Understanding why, can add enormous value and effectiveness to anything we do. When we have a solid grasp of the fundamental concepts behind our actions, we give the power of purpose to those actions. We can leverage the energy of our efforts. Learn so that we can do, and so that we will understand.

As important as it is to learn new knowledge, it is more important to use and share our knowledge. If we don’t use or share our learning and knowledge with others then all is for naught. Think about it…
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Charles J. Hellier has been active in the technology of nondestructive testing and related quality and inspection fields since 1957. Here he talks with Quality's managing editor, Michelle Bangert, about the importance of training.
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