Deep-level Learning LO10152
Tue, 24 Sep 1996 16:42:48 -0400

Replying to LO10140 --

Everybody is agreeing that, in order to describe life-changing learning,
terms are required that allow one to register change without having to say
that a later state negates a former state. One reason is that the prior
state may be legitimate and workable, even insightful, and the
registration of change shouldn't entail a finding of error, although one
may add such a finding.

(Self reports can be misleading. A revelatory experience can engender so
much enthusiasm that the person will 'die' to his past. Must we agree?)

Mike McMaster and Ben Compton have introduced the right kind of
terminology, but I'd like to add a set of terms that have been used to
deal with this situation, although more on a historical scale than
personal or organizational.

The two states are "equivalent". They differ, but play a similar,
foundational role. We know that there is an "epoch", a before and after,
because the person is unable to sincerely operate in the former state.
(This is the same as Ben's quotation of Paine -- ignorance, once
dispelled, can never be regained.) The former state is "compact" and the
later "differentiated". The compact state can be remembered but is seen
differently, from the outside. There is no stance outside the
differentiated state, except for the awareness that further change is
possible to those open to it. It is possible to imagine that one has
found the end of the line or knows where the line is headed, but this is a
"derailment", an erroneous construction of reality. Differentiation is
not necessarily progress, in the sense of higher efficiency with respect
to constant tasks.

There's no need to use this sort of language to describe shallow-level
learning. I don't know what would separate the levels.


Kent Myers

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