Re: Actionable

Subject: Re: Actionable
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
Date: Wed, 09 Apr 2008 20:13:14 -0700

Lauren wrote:
> Is Ned having an unhappy day?
> I think that when people discuss a "learning curve," they're not thinking of
> a chart, but of a combination of a curve in the road and a steep hill. So
> if a new employee cannot navigate the "steep learning curve," then the
> employee will careen off the cliff of ignorance.

That's nice :-)

Some people think the number 5 is yellow. This is a sign of
synaesthesia, a mental crossing over of the senses, which in the case of
words seems to add dimensions of meaning that not everyone shares.

It isn't really a mistake reflecting ignorance. After all, who's to say
that 5 isn't yellow? It doesn't change or conflict with the way we use
the number. To the contrary, it adds an intriguing window on the inner
life of an individual who sees it that way. Ve-e-e-e-ery interesting.

But jeezuz, the learning curve? I would have to have a very dull axe to
grind with Psychology to vandalize the terminology that way, as it is so
descriptive: A flat, featureless learning curve, with no features to
help make the time pass quickly, is hard learning.

Hard learning is steep, sure. But not in the learning curve.

About the "chart", as you call it. an x,y graph is a standard bit of
information that people the world over use in a standard way. The
independent variable is the X axis. It says boatloads in a non-verbal way:

Learning, seen as a function of time, is the dependent variable. It
goes on the Y axis. This is the syntax that lets you understand the
graph. If it wasn't clear, and the axes were reversed, it would say that
time passes as a function of learning. Havoc ensues.

So. It isn't a chart, it is an X,Y graph. If you didn't learn that
along the way, it isn't to late to do so now.

Very happy, but then I have been all day anyway, but thanks for asking.
And how are you?

Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com

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