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What’s the Big Idea?

I was visiting one of the graduates of our theological college some eight years after he had completed his studies. It was fascinating to observe that in the course of a 60-minute conversation, he made clear reference to five specific course themes—three from courses he took with me and two from a colleague's courses. It was not simply the references but the way in which they were shaped and used that fascinated me; the essence was almost verbatim, but the application was local and contextual to his own situation. The question then was what key factors contributed to this sort of long-term and formational learning? I would suggest two in particular: (1) the creation and repetition of “big ideas” and (2) significance.

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