Drawing helps you distinguish between what you see and what is there.
Let me explain. When someone attempts to draw for the first time, they're usually not happy with the result. We've all been there, we've all seen that happen. Well I believe that drawing and learning more or less go hand in hand. In thorough learning, there are three steps: being presented with information, processing/connecting it, and then explaining it back in your own words. It is the same with drawing (or any kind of art): sensing information, examining/interpreting it, and portraying it back to the world.
Interpreting things and making your own art are the easy parts. It's the first step, paying attention to the things you see, that takes a lot of scrutiny. There can be a big difference between what you see, and what is there, just as there is a difference between what you are taught and what you learn. Each step affects the next like a chain reaction, or an assembly line.
The first step takes a total sense of reality. You must learn to recognize the details in correlation with each other, exactly as they are. The second step incorporates the sense of imagination, wherein your thoughts exaggerate and subtlify things to your heart's content. You can think something up that makes absolutely no sense, or you can stick to the comfort of logical boundaries. Either and any between is your choice. The third step must combine the two, so that what you want to portray is evident, while how you want to portray it shows meaning.
So how do you learn the first step? With the third step: you draw. The three steps are a circle that, if followed, will wear a deeper and deeper groove of skill and wisdom with time. You see things, your mind interprets, you attempt to draw it, you interpret the drawing, you look again at things, interpret them, draw, and so on. Practice makes perfect, always.
I have drawn you a diagram.
I suppose in reality, the second and third step sort of happen simultaneously. The second is very subtle otherwise.
Attention to detail and the will to improve are how I taught myself what
I know. And I'm nowhere near perfect, but every artist is on a journey. One of my personal philosophies is that the only bad artist is one who never changes. As long as you are progressing, you're on the right track. Where you go from there is up to you.