Jeremy Abroad

Lectures Suck

February 10, 2015

Today at work the whole office had to sit down in an auditorium and listen to an outside consultant lecture us on the “Agile methodology”. It was like being in school all over again.

For the first couple hours or so, I was pretty engaged. But then my attention started to wander. It became a massive effort to pay attention. She told us we weren’t allowed to look at our phones or laptops, so I resisted the urge. By 1pm, I couldn’t take it anymore and was fully immersed in my phone. At 3pm, my full concentration was now directed towards trying to keep myself from dozing off. By 4pm I was asleep.

I was reminded of grad school. In grad school, I rarely went to lectures because I rarely found them helpful and they were next to impossible to stay awake in. So sitting in the auditorium at work, my initial instinct was to get up and leave at that point where I knew I could no longer focus and thus there was no point in me being there. But it might’ve looked bad if the 2-month old employee just suddenly walked out of the company-wide meeting in front of the CTO, Chief Product Officer, etc.

F*ck lectures. It’s not physically possible for a human to pay attention for 7 hours straight, even with a lunch break in the middle.

This is what high school students have to do everyday. It’s torture.

Lectures are not the most effective form of teaching for every person.

Most people learn better by doing. Listening to someone talk about theory has its merits, but nothing is ever really hammered home until you actually do it.

99% of the time I prefer reading to watching lectures because reading allows me to learn at my own pace. I find it much more efficient.

I’ve never watched a lecture on Youtube and not increased the playback speed to 2x (the max). Most lecturers talk slowly and blabber on about nonsense. My attention span is too limited for that.

In primary school, we classify kids with ADD who can’t sit still and listen for 7 consecutive hours as having “learning disabilities”. What if that’s just not how we were meant to learn?

Here’s an article I read on my phone today by one of the co-founders of Shopify who suffered from the same problem as me while in school. Apparently his “learning disabilities” didn’t prevent him from creating an e-commerce platform with over $7 billion in gross merchandise volume.

Jeremy Bernier

Written by Jeremy Bernier who left the NYC rat race to travel the world, work remotely, and find the meaning of life.