Re: References to the "Learning Curve"

Subject: Re: References to the "Learning Curve"
From: "Jeanne A. E. DeVoto" <jaed -at- BEST -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 4 May 1998 18:18:39 -0700

At 5:41 PM -0700 5/4/98, David Jackisch wrote:
>This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

Please don't do that on a mailing list. Thank you.

>Would someone on the list please tell me what the "learning curve" looks =
>like. People keep referring to difficult software as having a "steep =
>learning curve". I have looked in the archives and people have referred =
>to the curve as "short", "sharp", and "slow". I have no idea what these =
>descriptions mean.=20

Briefly put: with some software, you can start doing constructive work
almost immediately, even though you have not completely mastered the
application at that point. You can do simple things in the software without
yet knowing enough to do complex things, without getting yourself into
trouble. Such software is said to have a "gentle" learning curve.

Some software, on the other hand, must be studied and mastered fully before
you can really use it at all. This sort of software is what's meant when
someone talks about a "steep" learning curve. Think of a hill that is so
steep that it has to be climbed all in one push. The gentle learning curve
allows more points where the learner can stop, rest, and apply what's been
learned to the solution of real problems.

Both pieces of software may be equally complex, and the height of their
learning curves may be equal in the end; but one offers an easier path to
simple use (if not to mastery) than the other.

jeanne a. e. devoto ~ jaed -at- best -dot- com
Morning people may be respected, but night people are feared.

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