Friday, February 10, 2017

A Return to Another View of Deliberate Practice

In a previous blog post, Another View of Deliberate Practice, I added to the Wikipedia page about practice (learning method). My comment was to add another example criticizing psychologist K. Anders Ericsson’s findings about deliberate practice.

Ericsson says that it’s not enough to have “innate talent”:

Instead we argue that the differences between expert performers and normal adults reflect a life-long period of deliberate effort to improve performance in a specific domain.

Below is what I added about deliberate practice, under the Practice (Leaning Method) page:

In addition, Malcolm Gladwell’s point-of-view about deliberate practice is different than Ericsson’s view.  Gladwell, staff writer at New York Magazine and author of five books on The New York Times Best Seller list including Outliers: The Story of Success said in a May 2016 Freakonomics podcast interview that, “He’s [Ericsson] a hard practice guy, and I’m a soft practice guy.” Gladwell says that talent is important with intentional dedication to practice and having a support system is vital to produce superior outcomes. It not all about methodical effort as Ericsson claims.
I decided to go back to the Wikipedia entry to see if it has been added to, deleted or revised. To my surprise my entry is exactly how I wrote – no changes.
When I originally added to the Wikipedia page I thought how easy it is for someone to modify an entry. At that time, I didn’t know the public could so easily modify entries. Obviously there are advantages and disadvantages to this feature to the Wikipedia platform and business model but it has taught me that entries can easily be manipulated to serve a commentators' point-of-view.

My takeaway from using Wikipedia as a reliable reference resource is to be careful. Wikipedia is free and easy to access but beware that free – in this case – does not necessarily mean accurate.

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