On being an expert in elearning and online communities

Quotations can be puzzling, irrelevant and downright incomprehensible, and sometimes I wonder why I bother to read them – but on my iGoogle page I have “Quotes of the Day”. I find that random quotes are at least as relevant to my life as any horoscope would be! Sometimes, even, the quotes are truly inspiring.

Recently one of my daily quotes came up as:

My definition of an expert in any field is a person who knows enough about what’s really going on to be scared. – P J Plauger

Apparently this is a quote from Computer Language, March 1983, and Mr Plauger is an SF writer and an expert in the C programming language.

This one spoke to me – as I pride myself on being an expert in several aspects of elearning and online community planning, management and facilitation, and just recently I have been wondering why I sometimes feel scared. Mr Plauger is right. If you are an expert then you are at the level where you know what you know – and you also know how much you don’t know. Or in the case of technology – you know how fast it is moving and therefore how alert you have to be to keep up.

Keeping up with technology and the ways it is used for bringing people together for learning, for sharing and for work is a challenge, but it’s also very exciting. Like performers and mountaineers, it’s healthy to be scared sometimes. It keeps you on the edge.