Learning is based on two fundamentals, intelligence and awareness. Awareness excites the senses. Seeing that an apple is red can give rise to all manner of emotion and may even make your mouth water; good awareness helps you remember things. Intelligence is the ability to process information, e.g., an understanding of how the apple is made up, where it came from, what benefits it can provide, etc. When these two fundamentals operate together and at a high level, learning skills follow rapidly.
Learning straight from a book may excite the intellect but does little to stimulate awareness and results in a dry, theoretical type of learning that has little or no practical application in the real world. Similarly completely awareness-based learning, as in the “university of life”, may induce high levels of common sense, but insufficient technical knowledge to back up that experience.
The optimum learning process is a combination of the two. Learning skills just from books is not an efficient way to learn. You might learn a language from a book, but when you come to practice it in the real world it makes no sense because you have the wrong accent or pronunciations. You might learn DIY skills from a book, but the real learning comes from the mistakes you make when you encounter real materials and learn to use real tools.
Some academic subjects you might think are easily learned from books such as philosophy or psychology. But philosophy only becomes alive and understandable when you have experienced life. Psychology only makes sense when you have encountered disturbed and anxious people. It is easy to write an essay on Platonic Idealism if you have read a book on the subject, but far better is to experience the true hope of idealism. The same applies to every discipline. Information plus experience is always going to be more meaningful and more memorable.
The true test of this theory is the study of the Bible. Reading the Bible without experiencing faith is like reading the words to a song without ever hearing the song sung. The words can be beautiful and true but not until the song gets under your skin do you really learn what it is to be moved by it. We possess an intuitive awareness, which helps us to understand abstract things like aesthetics. Intuition is the sixth sense, which added to the other senses and a good intellect, enables a fully-loaded learning process.