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  • Writer's pictureNathan Belcher

The Fundamentals of Practice — Maximizing Learning with High-Impact Types of Practice

Do, think.

Do, think.

Do, think.

This is the never-ending cycle of improving: Do, then think; do again, then think again. The doing informs the thinking; the thinking informs the doing. Specific “doing” actions depend on the knowledge and skills you are trying to learn, whereas the “thinking” organizes the knowledge and skills into conceptual models.

The “doing” actions are the application of a set of knowledge and skills, which are typically categorized into practice or performance. The distinction between practice and performance comes from the amount of failure that is expected: Practice (usually) expects some failure; performance (usually) expects zero failure. Both practice and performance are important for learning, giving you information about your current level of understanding for a set of knowledge and skills and a way to apply a set of knowledge and skills.

Although practice is common with many tasks, people struggle to effectively organize their practice. The options for organizing practice are endless, so they get stuck in decision paralysis. Instead of having a plan to improve their knowledge and skills, they default to the most basic type of practice or whatever feels good that day — leading to boredom with practice tasks and a lack of improvement.

However, there is good news: Organizing an individual session and a series of sessions with specific high-impact types of practice will help you can learn more quickly. This article will give you explanations and examples for specific high-impact types of practice, helping you better organize your practice sessions and maximize your learning.

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