I am a Blues fan as well. I used to see Albert & BB King live at the Philmore in San Fransisco. I only started learning electronics 35 years ago when I was a full time restaurant cook trying to cross-train myself in my off time. I started with RadioShack children's
electronics kits with the spring contacts that allow you to wire hundreds of different circuits (one at a time) without solder. I also used Heathkit Homestudy Electronics courses, but by far, the most useful medium were the 'cookbooks" , which are the electronics version of recipe books , that have an introduction to the theory , then the schematic and some paragraphs that amount to application notes. When I started, I did not know how to read schematics, but I quickly learned. I think that trying to encourage newcomers to electronics to remain ignorant of schematics is detrimental to their advancement. If you were talking about children playing with toys it would make perfect sense, but to encourage adults to "play" with electronics and not worry about "how " a circuit works is not only counter productive , it is just plain stupid. If the individual is Bank VP who wants to build his own security system as a hobby , then I suppose it makes sense. Would you try to teach someone how to overhaul an engine without knowing how to read a mechanical drawing ? Sure, that is totally possible and probably happens every day, but not because they choose to do it that way. If they are not using drawings it is probably because they don't have them. The forum is inundated with a plethora of people who get into the arduino hobby with the attitude that "It's Shake & Bake , anyone can do it !" and the Instructables , though very informative , propagate this attitude with their reputation for not including schematics. Admittedly some do include schematics, but the majority don't. I find this attitude to be idiotic. A schematic is really not that hard to understand. You really only need to learn 20 or 30 symbols to get by. Yesterday some guy posted because he was having trouble with a pot (potentiometer). Since his problem seemed to be hardware related, I naturally asked him what value pot he was using. His reply was "What do mean what value ? It's a pot ! I'm reading 0 to 255 on the serial monitor !" Yes, you can use an arduino if you are ignorant and can't read a schematic. Can you be productive ? Probably not. Building electronic kits from diagrams is perfectly understandable for children, for several reasons. Should an adult follow that approach ? Well, that depends. If they are unable to focus on details then yes , probably they should. Would they be more productive and versatile if they knew how to read and draw schematics, probably. At the end of the day, when you make excuses for not learning, you only hinder your progress. Nothing you can say would support the case that it is better to NOT know how to read and draw schematics. So , I am glad that you had fun with your kits, but don't encourage newbies to remain ignorant because you were able to do something 45 years ago without knowing how to read schematics. I was a cook. I did not even know WHAT a resistor or capacitor were when I started. If you named ANY electronic component when I started, I could NOT have told you what it was or did, yet in one year, I not only learned how to read and draw schematics, I built about 300 circuits (some soldered) , including op amp circuits, power supplies with fold-back current limiting, audio amplifiers, digital sequencers and more, all because I learned to read and draw schematics. If you want to help the OP, tell him you think you would have learned faster if you knew how to read schematics. That's what he needs. He needs a reason to do it, not an excuse to avoid it.
Schematic Enforcement Agency
I am not denouncing learning theory, but we are subscribing and answering questions on an Arduino forum and not an electronics hobbyist forum.
Arduino is by its very nature a "hacking" platform. It was introduced to bring electronic project building to the masses and has succeeded in doing this very well. We get a lot of Newbie question on here because
it is a hacking platform. It does allow you to expand your knowledge of electronics and for that I am in agreement with you that once past the initial "hacking" stage then theory is a must
Most of the newbie question on here are from people dipping their toes in the water to learn to swim. Demanding that they jump in the deep end will put many off. That would be both a shame an in contradiction to the whole Arduino Ethos.
I dont think we will ever agree on this point but it is making for a good debate.