Deliberate practice – an approach to learning a skill that is planned, reflective, goal-oriented and highly structured.
‘Deliberate practice’ is a term used to describe an approach to learning a skill that is planned, reflective, goal-oriented and highly structured. Deliberate practice is a continual push for performance improvement that is usually achieved by practising small parts of the task until each part is perfected.
Deliberate practice is a continual push for performance improvement that is usually achieved by practising small parts of the task until each part is perfected.
Deliberate practice is a type of self-directed, independent learning activity used by highly motivated people seeking to master a skill or task. A person who repeats an activity will get better at performing that task, at least up to a certain point. After that point, ability plateaus and the rate of improvement slows to a trickle. Take for example a person who wants to learn to play golf. At first this person learns as much as they can and in no time, they are comfortably playing golf without embarrassing themselves. At this point, the golfer is content and the conscious effort to improve disappears. In 10 years from now this person is only marginally better than today. Merely playing golf every week will not result in significant improvement.
Deliberate practice requires the golfer to set specific goals, to break the task into smaller pieces, and to study, practise and perfect each piece of their game. It also requires them to seek and apply new information and advice from others. Coaches may be used for added advice and support. The golfer identifies their weaknesses and applies solutions. They are always looking for an edge. Each aspect is slowly and methodically practised – the golfer aims for a technically perfect swing. Video recordings are analysed in slow motion to find problem spots.
Whole-part-whole learning – the teacher first demonstrates a task (the ‘whole’), students then learn the task one step (part) at a time, and then combine all the steps (staggered at first – more fluidly with practice).
Whole-part-whole learning is the combination of 2 strategies: whole learning and part learning. Whole learning is when a task is learned as a fluid single activity. For example, a person learns to juggle 3 balls by actually juggling 3 balls. Part learning is when a task is initially learnt in separate steps. Whole-part-whole learning involves 3 basic steps:
Adam Green is an advisor to government, a registered teacher, an instructional designer and an author. He is completing a Doctor of Education and was previously head of department for one of the country’s largest SAER (students at educational risk) schools. Adam is managing director of Fast Track Training Australia, an accredited training provider for thousands of teacher aides every year.
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