The Jewels of Learning

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

man reading a book in front of an a room full of books

Right now, learning has a bad rep. This is in part due to a few myths about learning (that it’s too hard, or only for young people, or too expensive), but it’s also partially because people no longer think of learning as powerful.

This hasn’t always been the case. King Solomon, known to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, valued wisdom above his riches, power and long life. The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, declared that human rationality was shared only with the gods. The medieval English scholar Aelfric of Eynsham claimed that humans were different from animals only if they improved themselves and learned. The French philosopher, Descartes, said that humans could only know they existed from their thoughts. These people thought that learning could change lives.

But what’s so special about learning? Apart from winning Trivial Pursuit, it might seem pointless to be able to recite the dates of famous battles or the names of different flowers.

The truly powerful thing about adult learning is that it is supposed to be transformative. When you learn, you don’t just memorise facts. Education is supposed to change the way you look at the world. This is most obvious when you’re learning something vocational – learning how to use a computer or drive a car can truly change someone’s life. However, learning is just as powerful with more theoretical subjects.

For example, I am currently taking a module with the Academy for Distance Learning on the Principles of Plant Growth. This week we’ve been learning about the Carbon Cycle and I learned something which really amazed me. Plants produce oxygen and carbohydrates through photosynthesis. We usually focus on the oxygen part, but carbohydrates are also essential for the respiration and growth of every species on earth. Photosynthesis is one of the only ways of producing carbohydrates, meaning that all life on earth is directly dependent on photosynthesis. Every time I use energy or take a breath, I’m only able to do that because plants have taken that energy from the sun. Do you understand me? Unfortunately, I can’t explain to you in a few sentences why this is so amazing. You either already understand from having studied it, or you haven’t learnt it yet.

This kind of transformative insight is called a threshold concept or a ‘Jewel of the Curriculum’. Learning experts sometimes say that mastering these jewels is the only important kind of learning. The Jewels of the Curriculum are why learning is so valuable. Education allows us to discover new ways of seeing the world.

If you are ready to discover the Jewels of the Curriculum, come and sign up for one of our online or correspondence courses at the Academy for Distance Learning! You can work year-round, at any time of day, and every course comes with unlimited tutor support and access to our online classroom.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

LEAVE A REPLY

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

BLOG CATEGORIES

MOST POPULAR

Why good feedback should matter to you as a lifelong learner!

Distance Learning Here at ADL, we are a community of life-long learners who understand that you should never stop learning and discovering new things about the world. The day we leave school is not the day that we finish exploring new ideas or taking up new skills, but instead an opportunity to follow the things

Read More »

Here’s how understanding the two types of students can help you!

On our Resources page, we have a section on our Educational Philosophy which says the following: ‘Our courses have been designed to be “experiential based” learning which means we guide students through the learning experience.  The knowledge they acquire in the course lessons are part of the learning experience, but there is always a lot

Read More »

What actually is Animal Behaviour?

Behaviour is any externally observable activity of an animal. It is generally more useful to study animals in their natural habitat as we get a more “natural” view of their behaviour. But of course, this is not always possible. In general, animal behaviour includes: • Movement of parts of the body • Stopping expected movement

Read More »

What actually is AI and how does it work?

The term Artificial Intelligence (AI) was first coined by John McCarthy in 1956, and further published in 1959 entitled Programs with Common Sense in the Proceedings of the Teddington Conference on the Mechanization of Thought Processes. He discussed artificial intelligence in terms of “thinking machines”. John McCarthy was known as the “father of AI”.  According to the English Oxford

Read More »

SIGNUP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Scroll to Top

REQUEST A CALLBACK

To speak to one of our course advisors, please enter your name and phone number below and click the "Please Call Me" button. We will call you back as soon as possible!

By submitting this form, I provide my consent to ADL to contact me via email or telephone, regarding the course I selected. All information provided is protected in conformity with our Privacy Policy.

CONTACT US

required fields are marked with *

By submitting this form, I provide my consent to ADL to contact me via email or telephone, regarding the course I selected. All information provided is protected in conformity with our Privacy Policy.