The reason it’s a fallacy to pit these two against one another is that learning is about making connections. That is, learning is about making connections between facts — between truths.
Hence, you cannot learn anything without knowing facts.
The process of learning is the process of seeing and identifying and even delighting in the connections that you see among various truths. Without a storehouse of knowledge — of facts — this can’t happen. With a great storehouse of knowledge — of facts –, however, this can happen in abundance.
Learning how to learn is important. However, the first step in the process of learning is to gather the facts — gather information and truth. As you are doing that, connections (learning) will come. And as you gather more truth, more connections happen — and thus learning increases.
If in our schools and colleges and graduate programs we only focus on learning “how” to learn, we set people up to be incredibly behind. For they will have to embark on the actual process of gathering the information that is the fuel of learning after they are done with their school or program, rather than getting a bunch of that in place during their program.
Far better to learn how to learn and, right along with that, actually learn. Then, when you graduate, you will not only know how to learn when you encounter new territories, but you will already have a large storehouse of knowledge to build on. You won’t have to take so much time getting basic (or advanced) knowledge in place, and thus you will be coming at the new territory with a significant head start.
I think this is recognized in most schools, but there still persists this idea, perhaps only in popular conception, that the most important thing is “learning how to learn” rather than actually learning specific and abundant facts and truths as well. Though probably we could do better in most schools and graduate programs as well (with graduate programs, perhaps, focusing more on the making connections component of learning rather than mostly gaining information; also critical here is gathering the right information — which means, for theological education at least, reading fewer liberals).
One last thing: The fact that almost everything is available now through an internet search does not eliminate the need to actually learn facts. I love Google and looking up whatever I need to know when the need arises. But since learning is the act of making connections between facts, you need to have a whole bunch of facts in your head — not just available through a quick search on the Internet — in order for learning to take place.
(And, it’s also more efficient not to have to look everything up.)