deliberate practice

The key to developing expertise is deliberate practice. While some of this can happen during formal instruction, expertise has to be developed outside the classroom, as that is where most of us spend our time. Expertise takes time to develop, but how can organizations support novices as they go through their journeys to expertise? Tom Gram has three posts that cover the research and application of deliberate practice based on the work of Dr. Anders Ericsson.

Practice & Development of Expertise: Part 1 Part 2Part 3

Tom Gram has synthesized some of this research with an image that shows how low-performing novices and high-performing experts differ.


To focus on deliberate practice, we need to put it into all aspects of workplace learning. This means instruction based on action, not content, such as Cathy Moore’s action mapping approach. It also requires cognitive apprenticeship, especially within communities of practice. Using the 70:20:10 principle, a good practice would be to include deliberate practice into all aspects of workplace learning, whether in education programs, coaching and exposure, or through everyday experience.

In this way, new patterns can be sensed, especially through exposure to external social networks. New mental models can be developed through the practice of PK Mastery. To promote deliberate practice, the organization has to reduce barriers to sharing tacit (implicit) knowledge and encourage informal learning while working. Deliberate practice is a key part of social learning.


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