Meta-Learning: What Quantum Theory has to Teach us about Education (and each other)

Meta-Learning: What Quantum Theory has to Teach us about Education (and each other)

To be a successful educator takes much more than just a commanding knowledge of a domain. Teaching is a skill in and of itself separate from the content being taught, and too often instructors do not give it the respect it deserves (and needs). What we are left with is uninspired students and ambivalent teachers whose mutual frustration leaves both parties unhappy. We can do better.

We must be empathetic educators and see through the (minds) eye of those we seek to inform. Each and every student is unique: all with different backgrounds, perspectives not encountered before, distinct contexts into which they put information. We must learn how to learn.

I would like to propose a theory, the Uncertainty Principle of Education. The depth of a students understand of a topic is inversely proportional to the speed and quantity of information learned. In other words, a student must take more time to work through the process of learning a subject in order to gain insight into the fundamental nature of the subject.

This trade-off is exemplified by the memorization of many facts vs. a knowledge of a subject such that a student can infer said facts. Much like the wolf in the Gingerbread Man, we must deceive students in their learning and lead them along such that they come to a conclusion about the curriculum on their own accord (and believe they came to it by themselves). This is the "Ah-Ha" epiphany moment when we are teaching ourselves that provides us with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and a commanding understanding of the material.


Jonathan Dinu

May 13, 2013


  1. met∙a [met-uh]: self-referential; referring to itself or its characteristics, esp.

    as a parody; about
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  3. Don’t Stop Believing!

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  5. Corollary: No one learns alone

  6. Symbiotic

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  8. Learn to Learn

  9. Context

  10. Conjecture: Educational Uncertainty Principle

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  14. σ x σ p ≥  2 Depth Speed Aptitude

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  16. Current State of the Union

  17. It’s not about who Crosses the Finish Line First

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