This is part of an ongoing series on the fundamental rules or “patterns” of accelerated learning. Each rule is very contextual; these are not silver bullets or cure-alls.
Rule #6: NARROW SCOPE
When you are practicing or sharing your desired skill, trying to maintain your position on the FLUENT EDGE…
It’s easy to fall out of the learning flow into overwhelm and anxiety.
- Enthusiasm for learning and challenge can misdirect learners to add too much new information to the learning environment.
- Instructors commonly underestimate the time required to truly absorb new information.
- Instructors and learners often exhibit impatience in the face of what will truly instill new competency, preferring rather to rush forward to get an “overview” of the skill.
- Instructors can often worry, for cultural reasons, about making it “too easy” for participants; trickery and testing is closely associated with most learners’ experiences, regardless of its negative effects.
Therefore, reduce the size and frequency of new chunks of skill you are trying to learn.
- Proceed in BITE-SIZED PIECES, one piece at a time.
- Aim for “vertical slicing”, the ability to do a narrow range of things (within the overall general skill), and follow this narrow track to the highest level of performance, before expanding “horizontally”.
By NARROWING SCOPE, you do indeed learn to do a very narrow range of things very well; it takes a lot of discipline and design to not be distracted by the other “shiny toys” found within the skill domain. Expanding horizontally too soon, however, will slow you down, and is the top of the slippery slope towards prioritizing knowledge-about over FLUENCY. It can also be frustrating, insulting, or shocking for learning participants how slowly and methodically their learning experience needs to begin before accelerating forward. Remember to rely on the CONTRACT of the rules of play – it’s a game, and it has rules.
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