Backward Learning

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You've no doubt heard people say something to the effect that they were glad they learned something in school, because it was now a part of their job. Or maybe, they learned something in a lower level course that enhanced their ability in another course. This week, I've been experiencing the same type of gladness, but from a different perspective.

In three of my classes, we have been covering database development, and Access in particular. One is from a management point of view, another is from an application point of view, and the third is from a programming / development point of view. I'm glad because I've been working with databases on the job for the past 4 years, so this is where I get to coast for a while.

It's a bit odd that job experience enhances education, when the opposite is the intent. It's odd, but this type of enhancement is beneficial because it reinforces what you learned on the street, and because a few details that you missed can be added without much agony. In a field that involves a lot of self-training, I suspect this is more common that I realized, or at least among older students.

The same phenomenon is also there in some other fields, although not so seamlessly. In Visual Basic, I'm re-learning a lot of material that I learned in developing VBA applications as well as from C. It seems Microsoft has "ported" a lot of C into the newer versions of Visual Basic. The last time I used Basic was when QuickBasic was around. Now, there's not much you can't do in VB that could be done in C a decade ago.

Going BACK to school sure has it's advantages. You get to be 19 again, and with what life has already taught you, you have a lot more free time than the 19-year olds that have to cram for every course.

P.S. It's also a comforting thought that databases have gained some respect in these fields, where spreadsheeting was the modus operandi for so many years.

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