See-Do-Feedback: The Right Way To Practice - Scott H Young - Deepstash

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Practice is more complex than a simple observation

Practice is more complex than a simple observation

Practice is the foundation for effective learning. Yet, simple observation is more complex to do.

Good practice is possible with the see-do-feedback loop:

  • See. Find an example of how to solve a problem.
  • Do. Solve the problem yourself.
  • Feedback. Check if you got the right answer.

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See: The Power of Examples

See: The Power of Examples

Decades of research show that experts get good by acquiring tons of specific patterns of knowledge.

One specific study by Graham Cooper and John Sweller showed that when students were given examples where the problems were worked step-by-step and the solution provided were better able to solve test problems than those who did not get examples. The reason is that when you learn a pattern, it is less cognitively taxing.

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Do: The Need for Retrieval

Do: The Need for Retrieval

Watching alone is not effective. Knowledge needs to become an automatic skill to be useful.

Practice is not just for physical skills. A study by Jeffrey Karpicke and Janelle Blunt showed that students that recalled a passage they've read did much better on a test than those who re-read the passage several times.

The best approach to learning is to see a few examples of the pattern to be learned, then practice without examples so you can perform from memory.

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Feedback: Check Your Work

Feedback: Check Your Work

You need to get feedback on your practice. If the problem is straightforward, seeing the correct solution is enough. But skills with gradations of performance or more subjective measures of success need a teacher, tutor or coach for feedback.

  • Feedback correct errors.
  • Feedback can train your unconscious learning system. The brain works through rewards. It reinforces past actions that led to success and weakens those that led to failure.
  • Feedback guides your attention and motivation for future learning.

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Examples of implementing the Loop

  • Languages: Notice vocabulary, phrases and grammar; test it out in a conversation, then check if you are properly understood.
  • History: Read a book, write a summary explaining the main points, then check back to see what you’ve missed.
  • Business: Learn a new management technique, implement it in your company, then see how it performs.

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