Fast vs slow learning LO22685

AM de Lange (
Fri, 17 Sep 1999 10:59:58 +0200

Replying to LO22593 --

Dear Organlearners,

This is my third reply to the intrigueing subject
"Fast vs slow learning" initiated by
Leo Minnigh <>

Greetings Leo,

I know that you like Winfired, Andrew, Dwight and others
are intrigued by the relationship between FORM and

In my reply to you I stressed how important it is to think
in terms of Authentic Learning if we want to get a grib on
the rate (fast or slow) of learning. I showed that the feedback
loop between creativity (creating) and its first order emergent
learning is of vital importance to the rate of learning.

This feedback loop is but one of many feedback loops which
involve learning once we perceive the following pattern:

0th order | 1st order | 2nd order | 3rd order |
creating | learning | believing | loving |

We can distinguish three binary, three ternary and one
quaternary feedback loops (seven in total) which each involves
learning. We can go into each of these loops to gain much
insight. But what about the rate of learning in each of these

We may focus on learning itself, but also on creativity as
the base from which learning and all the other orders emerge.
However, when we try to focus on creativity itself, we may
easily put our blinkers on to do so. This will be fatal.

The following is an interesting way to keep creativity
connected to its higher order emergents. It is to create
two equations for creativity, the one for its CONTENTS
and the other one for its FORM. These equations are

=creating + learning + believing + loving

=creating x learning x believing x loving

On the right hand side of each equation we have expressions
which are known in Boolean Algebra switching functions.
Switching functions are a very general class of functions
much used in the technology of computer hardware and
software as any computer engineer will tell you.

These equations work as follows. Each of member of the
{creating, learning, believing, loving}
can have the values
1 (on) or 1 (off).
The Boolean arithmatic rules are given by
1x1=0, 1x0=0, 0x1=0, 0x0=0
1+1=1. 1+0=1, 0+1=1, 0+0=0

Let us now consider, for example, a person for whom
creating is on (1), learning is on (1), believing is off (0)
and loving is off (0).

Then we have
=creating + learning + believing + loving
= 1+ 1 + 0 + 0
= 1
In other words, the CC for this person is on (1). It means,
for example, there are some creative experiences on which
we can build.

We also have
=creating x learning x believing x loving
= 1 x 1 x 0 x 0
= 0
In other words the FC for this person is off (0). It means,
for example, that the abscence of some creative back actions
and their consequences, like motivation, happiness and
curosity, may be expected.

The connection of these two equations to the rate of
learning is as follows. The rate of learning depends on the
creational organisation of
{creating, learning, believing, loving}
into a whole. This creational organisation can range from
very simple to very complex.

First we have to consider the MOST complex case of
creational organisation, namely a person for whom creating
is on (1), learning is on (1), believing is on (1) and loving is
on (1). Then we have
CC = creating + learning + believing + loving
= 1+ 1 + 1 + 1
= 1
FC = creating x learning x believing x loving
= 1x 1 x 1 x 1
= 1
ORGANISTION will both CC and FC be on (1). We may
also call it the complete case.

In this complete case there is an innate retionship between
the "rate of learning" and the COMPLEXITY of the creational
organisation. As the "creational organisation" becomes MORE
COMPLEX , the "rate of learning" SLOWS DOWN. There is
nothing wrong with it -- this is natural to all Creation.

But on top of this natural slowing down of learning as a result
of increasing complexity, there may be additional retardations
because of broken feedback loops. The more the broken
feedback loops, the more the retardation. Whenever there is a
broken feedback loop, CC=1 and CF=0. Only when all the
feedback loops are broken, will CC=0 and CF=0. In this case
the retardation will be greatest.

In Authentic Learning the goal is to stay as close as possible
to the upper limit, namely CC=1 and CF=1. But in Rote
Learning the learner can become dangerously close to the
lower limit CC=0 and CF=0, if not getting stuck into it. Many
kinds of learning has been designed to move from CC=0 and
CF=0 to CC=1 and CF=1. If you favour any such a kind of
learning, see for yourself whether it fits to this description
or not.

What happens when the rate of learning gets retarded
because of broken feedback loops? Obviously, the learner is
no fool and the testing practice (educational measurement)
is so overwhelming that the learner wants to accelerate his/her
rate of learning. But without a teacher as midwife, what is the
chances for the learner to rectify his predicament in the
coorect manner?

What is the correct manner? To repair the broken feedback
loops between
{creating, learning, believing, loving}
and even the many more within each of them. Within each
of them? Yes, for example, learning itself has four levels
{experential, tacit, formal, sapient}
with 11 feedback loops between them.

What is the incorrect manner? To leave CC and FC as
it is, or even to break more feedback loops until CC=0
and FC=0. The easiest way to do this is to think of
learning as a sponge which has to suck up water, molecule
by molecule. Any further water added to the sponge has
absolutely no effect on the water already in the sponge.
Another metaphor is to think of the mind as a library
which has to collect books (learning topics), book by
book. Any new shipment of books has absolutely no
effect on the books already in the library (except for their
arrangement on the shelves). How much is Rote Learning
not depicted by these two metaphors?

What happens when the learner follows the incorrect
manner to accelerate the rate of learning? The learner
manages to keep up, or even surpass, the average rate
of learning set up and managed by the learning institution.
All seems to be working nicely for some stretch of time.
"Hooray, for the Institution." In fact, Authentic Learning is
usually the one which falls out because of a mismatch
between the rate of authetic learning and that prescribed by
the institution.

But some very important pathologies develop. The learner's
curiosity, happiness and motivation with respect to learning
gradually diminish. The learner's performance (outcomes)
gradually weakens. Then suddenly a dramatic non-linear
change happens -- the learning breaks down severely.
Curiosity, happiness and motivation disappear. The learner
becomes a failure who then has to leave the Institution for
having become a liability. The learner ceases to be a
learner-for-life. Many of them begin to follow the path of
parasite-for-life. Some go so far as to shock their societies
with mass murders, rapes, frauds, cults, etc. Their grand
destructive creativity, eventhough despicable, are an
INDICTMENT against the systems thinking of society and a
final CRY for help.

Leo, I have indicated above that the "rate of learning" and
the "seams of society" which are coming apart are closely
related to each other. I have tried to shown in terms of my
theory of "deep creativity" how they are related to each other.
Perhaps I am far off the mark. But two things cannot be
denied. Many people take seriously note of the "rate of
learning" and the "seams of society". Why? What does
the tacit knowledge of each them tell them? Does it tell that
the "seams of society" will remain intact only by pushing the
"rate of learning" higher and higher?

The rate of learning, despite people's recognition of Form
and Content in Creativity or not and despite what values CC
and CF get, depends on the creativity of the learner. Try
as hard as we can we cannot deny the tenet

If there is merely ONE problem with our rate of creating, there
will be MANY problems in our rate of learning. Even problems
cannot escape this strange one-to-many-mapping of the
arrow of time. A problem gets children, grandchildren, great-
grandchildren, etc. -- an escalating progeny. We will have to
work on all these progeny problems to solve them otherwise
they themselves will carry the one-to-many-mapping even
further. But we also have to focus on the problems in
creativity as one of the basic sources of problems in our
society. By solving them, we will at least cut off the original
source of all these problems. What do you think?

Best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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