There's a theme that appears a lot in the commentaries that being afraid of holiness, ashamed of nakedness and so on are either good things, or unfortunate results of bad things.
And they heard the voice: The rule is that in a place where, relative to the recipient, it is not fit for there to be a revelation of the Divine Presence, but the time nevertheless necessitates a revelation of the Divine presence, there is a sounding of a [loud] voice. It is like the metaphor of the Sages, may their memory be blessed, "A coin in an [otherwise empty] barrel calls, 'Kish, kish' (makes much noise)." And for that reason, they said in Sotah 9b concerning Shimshon, that the Divine Presence was beating in front of him like a [bell] clapper. And that is because he was not properly prepared - regarding the separation from desire for a woman - for the attainment of the holy spirit; but he attained the holy spirit nevertheless. So behold, up until now, Adam was clinging to the Divine Presence; and the woman did not see or know what the revelation of the Divine Presence was at all, but was rather like a monkey. However, from the time they ate from the tree of knowledge, both of them understood the greatness of that thing.
It sounds like it is saying that the greatness of the revelation of the Divine Presence was only noticed once they sinned. I.e., now that they have knowledge of Good and Evil, they are able to recognise the holiness, whereas before they were ignorant to it. So regardless how you interpret the connection between the sin and the improvement, either way this aspect of things is an improvement and is therefore to their credit.
This Rashi also sounds like it is saying the same sort of thing:
וייראו מגשת אליו AND THEY WERE AFRAID TO STEP NIGH UNTO HIM — Come and see how great is the power (influence) of sin! For before they streched forth their hand to sin what does Scripture say? (Exodus 24:17) “And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel”, — and yet they were not afraid and did not tremble! But after they made the golden calf they recoiled and trembled even at the sight of the rays of glory of Moses! (Sifrei Bamidbar 1:8)
I normally read this Rashi as "before the Golden Calf, they were ignorant to the awe one should feel in the presence of Hashem's Greatness, but now look at the power of sin, the end result of the sin and the teshuva is a higher level than before: they now feel the awe and are unable to even look at Moshe's holy face".
However I am also wondering, maybe it's not to be read that way. Maybe it's a descent, not an ascent. Maybe this is non-ideal. Being pure and sin-free allows one to look Hashem in the eye, so to speak, without shame, which is higher and better. Not being able to is to one's discredit. The "power of sin" ruined it.
Malbim on Bereshit 3:8 (along with the pashut understand of the events in 3), imply that this is indeed a lower madregah.
They heard the voice. Before the sin they were able to communicate with Hashem directly, as Moshe did, without the assistance of the imagination. Therefore their prophecies were accompanied by no sensory perceptions, either audible or visual. That is why they experienced no fright, unlike later prophets. Now, however, their physical natures had become dominant and their prophecies were cloaked in more tangible garb.
I've seen other midrashim as well that imply this shame and embarrassment is a step down. I'll try to quote them.
So which is it? Is it to our credit, or our discredit, if we can recognise, and feel ashamed and in awe of, the Greatness of the Divine Presence? Or perhaps it's a mixed answer - the more awe and shame we feel, yet are able to stand up straight despite that, the better, because truly it is fitting for a finite being to be in awe of Hashem, yet at the same time, if the finite being can emulate Hashem and stand straight in His Presence, such a person has truly made the best of all sides and become a gadol.
Edit: I noticed the other day that the Arizal holds Hevel accountable for having gazed at the Divine Presence as it descended to consume his offering (and hence was chayiv mita). This is an interesting data point.