Monday, October 12, 2015

Deliberate practice - some critiques

Ericsson’s work on deliberate practice is cited often in the vocational education literature, here is link to one of his papers. Concepts of deliberate practice have been popularised through popular literature by Gladwell’s book, Outliers.

However, there are critiques to the concepts inherent in deliberate practice as per this article from open colleges. Notably, that the research used to frame deliberate practice has been carried out with areas of skill learning which are relatively narrow. For example, the studies on expertise with chess players and the learning of musical instruments.

Learning any trade requires a wide range of skill sets, so there is difficulty in generalising all the recommendations and findings across to learning occupational skills. However, deliberate practice does provide for one process to explain the learning of a discrete set of skill.

Critiques include the following: From msu research - takes the nature vs nurture dichotomy and argues for the mainly nature with some nurture stance. An academic article by  Hamrick and others propose the need to study the deliberate practice process more deeply.

So still some way to go with regards to clarifying how we actually go about learning skills through practice. 

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