Einstein’s personal philosophy’s are as interesting as his revolutionary insights into the physical universe. And many of his pithy reflections hold interesting implications for the modern phenomenon of eLearning. Here are a few of his most interesting perspectives and how they are particularly relevant for us:
“If You Can’t Explain It Simply, You Don’t Understand It Well Enough.”
A profound thought for those of us who design online courses and all the materials that go into them. Like publishing anything at all – there’s a spectrum of opportunities to make it amazing or terrible and everything in between.
With the effectively infinite word limits, and without the constraint of a limited period in front of a class, the tendency for online course creators is to include MORE rather than less, and this a dangerous trap. Quality should preceed Quantity, and the ability to explain increasingly complex subjects in the simplest possible and concise terms is the core value behind ultra-successful educators like Carlo Rovelli.
“It Has Become Appallingly Obvious That Our Technology Has Exceeded Our Humanity.”
This observation was made at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age when Einstein and his colleagues’ discoveries endowed humanity with the ability to snuff out civilisation and most of life on our fragile planet in a single war.
70 years on, the threats have become less dramatically destructive, cities can still be flattened, but the likelihood of that happening far less than at the height of the Cold War. Instead technology has let other genies out of the bottle, from swinging our elections though personal data heists to our cars having to learn not to run us down.
The very BEST technology implementations are when our creations enhance and transform what already exists, but for the better. LMS’s ability to remotely guide learning but also create new human connections and interaction holds enormous promise for technology boosting our humanity rather than just exceeding it.
“Whoever Is Careless With The Truth In Small Matters Cannot Be Trusted With Important Matters.”
Trust is a critical element in online teaching. From setting deadlines and keeping them, to providing support and offering feedback to students in constructively critical tone. There are 100’s of ways learners and course leaders interact during any educational program – and often the smallest details are the most important of all when setting the tone for a digitally delivered course.
This puts enormous pressure on digital educators to get it right the first time, but then when they do, the potential to scale and reach a magnitude more learners is enormous. Distance learning makes trust in education more essential than ever.
“Information Is Not Knowledge.”
Possibly the most poignant of all when it comes to education of any flavour, the distinctions between data, information, knowledge and wisdom are essential to appreciate. In the context of online education, experienced course designers know to focus always on acquiring knowledge and wisdom to be the ultimate goal, and data and information are only there to support that acquisition.
Online courses which try only to only pass on reams of facts without asking the learners to think about how they might apply what they’ve learnt are missing the entire purpose of education in the first place.
He’s not been with us for 6 decades, but the famous physicist’slife insights prove utterly relevant and as provoking as ever for our more down to earth efforts to enhance education and encouraging students to love to learn!