Re: College/Learning Curves

Subject: Re: College/Learning Curves
From: Morgan Sutherland (
Date: Fri Sep 30 2005 - 20:37:32 EDT

Perhaps because with an easier to learn, say, application, the level
of knowledge needed to run the program is great, therefore in order to
reach that high level of knowledge, the curve must be steeper. Almost

On 9/30/05, Ian Stewart <> wrote:
> --> ...Usually though, their ears and attitudes helped them through the
> rather steep learning curve.... <--
> Off-topic, but a 'steep learning curve' originally meant something was
> easily learned- a learning curve measured the cost/time in performing a task
> (y-axis) versus the number of times you'd done it (x-axis). A normal
> learning curve therefore slopes downwards (assuming you improve at something
> with repetition, or 'learning'), and the steeper it is, the faster you
> arrive at a low cost or time to perform the set task. Likely people have
> assumed (naturally enough) that a learning curve is a bit like a hill to
> climb when picking up a new skill, and that the steeper it is, the more
> arduous is the learning. Some moderately interesting details here:
> I find it interesting that terms like 'quantum leap' and 'steep learning
> curve' often take on the opposite meaning in popular usage from their
> original scientific meaning, and I wonder whether this phenomenon is unique
> to terms borrowed from science?- probably not, but I can't think of other
> examples. I do sometimes have to guess what's meant when someone tells me,
> for example, that they found SuperCollider had a steep learning curve...
> Anyway, please forgive the linguistic pedantry!
> all the best,
> Ian

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