Ash. This is a question I will try to answer without the help of my friends. It was a challenging question. This is a personal view.
I have tried to attempt academic learning for most of my life. Notice the word tried. Academic learning for me is learning things that would help me solve scientific questions. I learnt about materials and then about atoms and molecules and their properties and then about ideas on how this dictated the way in which they behaved. I then used this to help with my own ideas.
There are however lots of different forms of academic learning in all subject areas. Think of the people who are interested in history. Their learning could involve studying and interpreting lots of old and ancient texts – or modern ones. Does history help us in understanding what is happening in the world today?
Think of the engineer who would like to improve the jet engine. Look at the learning that she/he would have to do to help them solve the problems that jet engines might have.
Don’t however, in your life, avoid the other types of learning. Learning by listening, learning visually, and learning through actions are just as important.
Now and again academic learning involves tests, class test, school tests, national examination tests. They are horrible but on the other hand they help you in the steps of the academic learning that you go through.