Have you ever given much thought to how you learn something? There are traditional and nontraditional ways of learning. You probably more familiar with what is called the traditional method. You attend school, sit in classes, and a teacher imparts information to you and your classmates. This body of knowledge can be in the form of lectures, assigned readings from textbooks, or information you collectively arrive at by means of experimentation. Traditional education is highly structured and disciplined. There are goals and some forms of validating or testing to ensure that knowledge has been transformed from the teacher to the student.
Nontraditional education, on another hand, is less structured and more free-flowing. Knowledge is transferred from one source to another in much the same manner found in classroom, but the techniques are quite different. Perhaps, the same as learning to ride a bike. There were no textbook to teach you how, and there was no classroom. But there was a teacher, not in the school-student case. This time the teacher could have been a parent, brother, or sister. You learn by following instructions, observing by an example, and by doing it. Labs are another great example of hands-on education.
Enough of theory. In the practical world, we learn by combinations of traditional and nontraditional methods.