Learn Efficiently With Deliberate Practice

Expertise it not dependent on talent, but largely the result of efficient practice. Merely performing a skill multiple times is not an effective way of learning, because learning has more to do with how one practices. Deliberate practice is a way of learning as efficiently as possible.

“… the differences between expert performers and normal adults reflect a life-long period of deliberate effort to improve performance in a specific domain.” [1]

Deliberate practice has five essential components:

  • Have a Goal. Be specific on what you are learning. Split large and vague skills (e.g. be a better artist) into concrete chunks (e.g. learn to draw portraits, understand perspective…).
  • Be motivated. You must be motivated make and effort to improve. Practice isn’t inherently fun, but the results are rewarding.
  • Customized to challenge, but not overburden you. Take into account what you already know and can do. Understand your weaknesses and practice those areas. Practice at more challenging levels as you learn.
  • Immediate feedback. Get feedback on how well you did and what to improve. It will make learning much more efficient.
  • Repeat. Repeat the same or similar tasks. Becoming an expert will take time and perseverance, but don’t burn yourself out either. Make a schedule.

In the end, motivation dictates who will become an expert.


K. Anders Ericsson, Ralf Th. Krampe, and Clemens Tesch-Romer: The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance

Corbett Barr, Expert Enough: Deliberate Practice