Semantic distance

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Semantic distance is a metric based on the number of edges separating two nodes in a semantic network. At this site, semantic distance is used loosely to mean the knowledge gap, i.e. the amount of knowledge separating two models of reality (or two sets of knowledge). For example, if a students shows poor understanding of gravity, and a teacher attempts to bring that student to a good level of understanding of the planetary motions, the distance separating the models of the solar system in the head of the student and the head of the teacher will be significant. The purpose of incremental learning is to divide the learning process into small increments in which small portions of knowledge cover small distances in the semantic network of prior knowledge. Incremental approach makes learning easy and fun, and yet there is virtually no limit on the ultimate distance that can be covered. In the process of passive schooling, semantic distances are often too large, which results in decoding penalty that forms an essential component of the school penalization, which destroys the pleasure of learning. In free learning, the incremental approach is natural under the guidance of the learn drive. Free incremental learning is always semantic, and based on covering short semantic distances, which help optimize the learning trajectory in the knowledge space. This guided and incremental approach makes it easier to find shortest path in a semantic network (i.e. learn at minimum cost with high coherence and high applicability).

In incremental reading, a rough measure of the semantic distance is the item count. Item counts may also be used to quantify learning goals, which can also be seen in terms of the semantic distance that needs to be traversed from the starting point to the completion of the learning task. For example, Advanced English boasts of the item count of 40,000+, which can be seen as a measure of the semantic distance between a beginner and a prolific native speaker of English. It is pretty obvious that this kind of distance cannot be traversed during a single class of English (see: 13 years of school in a month).

This glossary entry is used to explain "I would never send my kids to school" (2017-2024) by Piotr Wozniak

See also: Semantic similarity