Why is learning statistics so hard? Because they are different language!

The most common response when I tell people that I am a statistics professor is; “I hated that class” or “it is so difficult and confusing”. Well, the reason people often find statistics so confusing is that it is essentially another language. It is not something the average person uses in their daily speech. Therefore, we have no way of knowing what is being said. Statistics may as well be hieroglyphs to most people because they don't understand it. But much like hieroglyphs, with the proper tools one can easily and quickly learn the basics of statistics.


In order to learn statistics one needs to have the material broken down into small bits of information, much like the way we are taught to read. One does not simply jump into reading words; rather they start by identifying letters. It is much the same way with statistics; before doing any of the calculations, one needs to understand what each symbol represents. By learning what each symbol represents, one can start the process of reading the formulas and interpreting their results. 

Therefore, in order to make learning statistics fun and enjoyable, the material needs to be broken down into small, simple to understand pieces of information. Too often it is taught as a whole concept rather than small bits. That is why statistics is thought of as one of the more challenging disciplines.

Michael Fleischer