This is an applied class. This program presents a step-by-step format to enhance learning of complex skills. It includes a practice assignments designed to try out new skill development techniques.
Module 1. How To Practice: The Bare Essentials
“You can’t learn to swim by reading about it.” – Henry Mintzberg
Youth with Violin by Giovanni Martinelli, oil on canvas, ca. 1640-1650
People continually underestimate the importance of practice. In many corporate settings, the trainer or seminar leader provides training but typically leaves little time for development. The importance of practice cannot be underestimated.
Skills cannot be build without it. Practice can be physical, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be mental as well.
Module 2. Enhancing Your Practice: How to Use Visualization and Guided Imagery
“Immense power is acquired by assuring yourself in your secret reveries that you were born to control events.” undefined Andrew Carnegie
It’s been known for years that visualization is a key factor in harnessing the healing factors lying untapped with the mind. The same can be said about its importance in building skills undefined its use accelerates the process of learning. But like all tools, one has to know how to use it. There are different types of imagery. Some is known as receptive–useful in both insight and creativity. Another type is known as programmed–a category helpful in skill development. Still other types of imagery are associated with certain types of states, for example such as transitioning between wakefulness and sleep.
Module 3. Enhance Your Practice: Using Reflection and Self-Monitoring
“The problem with the world is that the ignorant are cocksure and the wise are full of doubt.” undefined Betrand Russell
John William Godward (1861–1922): Idle Thoughts
It has long been known that feedback is an essential element of performance, but there is a real art in knowing to deliver it. One of the most difficult aspects of building a skill is to develop a sense of self-awareness during the practice phase. It is so difficult, that only the champions really know how it is done. However, without the development of this component skill, one really shows very little improvement in the skills we use the most.
Traditionally, feedback is something one can get from an expert who also posses good coaching skills. However, given the nature of the skills most of you are developing, you will mostly likely not have access to a good coach.
Sometimes a good friend can provide meaningful feedback and this is worth a try. If these two sources are not available, one has two other techniques: mindful practice and reflection. The assignment is going to be focus on the last two techniques.
Module 4. Enhancing Your Practice undefined Generating Internal Motivation
“Skill is nil without will.” undefined Judah ibn Tibbon, c. 1120-c.1190 Spanish physician and translation
Karl Briullov (1799–1852): Nun"s Dream
As Abraham Lincoln once remarked at a cabinet meeting, “If I knew what brand of whisky he [General Ulysses Grant] drinks, I would send a barrel or so to my other generals.” Motivation drives skill development. Unfortunately, many skill development efforts fail because those in it don’t address what how to motivate themselves properly. While we can solicit support from friends and family, champions understand they must develop the internal drive to keep going despite the many set-backs one will encounter. Divine the secrets of using internal and external consequences to increase internal motivation. In many cases, a few weeks is not enough time to really master a complex skill. One has to keep at it for years. On example is a foreign language or getting a black belt in Judo. To prevent giving up before the task is complete, one has to address the issue of motivation.
Image by Mutante. This board is symbolic of mastery of one of the most complex games known–a game that requires years of years of practice to be able to master it.