Thursday, October 7, 2010

Classroom Learning

I think people overestimate what you can learn in a single course.  Let me tell you how I learned mechanics and electricity and magnetism (and perhaps some other physics subfields as well).  I learned a bit in junior high physical science and my high school physics class.  I was taught the same things again in a first year undergraduate physics course and then in undergraduate mechanics and E&M classes.  (Electronics too.) I learned a bit more in graduate school in several mechanics and E&M classes.  I learned the rest when I taught first year physics, E&M, mechanics, and several electronics courses.  Only with ALL of this did I really know some physics.  No one course would possibly have done the job.

People expect too much of a single course. After all, neural networks typically require many observations of a given pattern before they learn it and learning is, in general, NP hard.

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