...to Learn by Doing

Students learned that much learning 1) doesn't feel like learning and 2) happens by doing, by going through what might seem like silly superficial motions.

"A lot of coding is un-intuitive and difficult to grasp, but it gets easier and easier the more you do it and the more you familiarize yourself with the commands and options that are available. It took me three hours to write a transform the first time I did it, but by the end of the semester, I only needed a few minutes."

"I didn't realize how true this was until I decided to use RStudio to help me with an econometrics assignment because I thought it would be easier to do summary statistics in RStudio than in Stata. It is interesting because while at first, I didn't understand what I was doing, I was able to pick up procedures and intuitive explanations of the models over time."

"Our general definition of 'learning' tends to be pretty narrow / limited to a very specific type of learning. So while I may not feel like I am actively learning new information when I am 'going through the motions' of running a model, there are things about the process that I am reacting to or absorbing that will stick with me, and there is value in that."

"I learned the most when I kicked my lazy butt into gear and actually did the work required for the course. The most insightful things I gained happened when I came into class with questions from going through the motions of doing readings I didn't understand, when I spent hours in front of R struggling with the coding, and when I gave presentations on a huge survey I was still trying to make sense of."

"All action in this course brought me further along in my own understanding and mastery of the course material. Every day spent passively doing nothing while bemoaning my lack of knowledge was counterproductive and harmful. "

"I think that in this class, going through the motions is the way to go. I wish we had done more of it. By having straightforward examples of how to run a certain model, it then becomes much easier to apply your own dataset to it. Once you feel comfortable with the results of the motions, you start to understand the meaning behind them and why we need to use certain lines of code and certain formulas."

"At first, lots of the things we did in the homework and in-class went over my head. But by thinking about them and going through them, I feel like I am able to grasp the topics and the logistics behind the things we do - and why we do them."

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