Making Distinctions_Common Problems

While the Rapid Skill Transfer Protocol is, at its heart, all about making fine-grained distinctions (see “Distinguishing Distinctions – A Definition”), it’s important to recognize that there are several challenges associated with making those key distinctions.  Traditional approaches to skill transference don’t seem to recognize these challenges, and if they do, don’t seem equipped to do much to counter their impact on achieving the stated and desired outcomes of the instruction. 

1)      Oftentimes, the most important distinctions to make, the ones that are the most impactful on outcome, are often also the most difficult to recognize for the Subject Matter Expert (SME) or the student – frequently they’re barely perceptible, yet often make all the difference between success and failure of desired outcomes.  In order to initiate a toe-side snowboarding turn, one must ever so slightly depressing the front edge toe, a move that would be very difficult to perceive. 

2)      Often the SME has no idea that they’ve even made certain key distinctions, therefore, those subtleties don’t get relayed to the novice and success is limited and unpredictable.  (see “The Expert Doesn’t Know What They Know”)

3)      Bad or less-than-best-practice practices get turned into the norm that is then viewed as standard practices.  Like a game of follow-the-leader I watched as dozens of lovers, young and old, rowed their boats around the lake in Central Park – BACKwards!!  The vast majority of people were rowing the flat stern of the boat forward, making slow, exhausting, chaotic progress as they imitated those who had gone out before them.

4)      Bad practices are subsequently re-repeated in an even more broken fashion as time goes on, like a bad game of telephone, or a broken gene sequence – bad practices are replicated with additional deviations that further remove the process from one of best practices.

5)      Once certain practices become the norm, those assumptions are rarely revisited.  There can be an “it’s always been done this way” phenomenon where progress of process is halted, frozen in practices of the past.

6)      Instinct and common sense are not always the best guide toward best practices (see “Best Practices”). For example, in kayaking, it’s counterintuitive to lean TOWARDS a huge rock if you’re going to hit it sideways – but it IS the best practice.

Fortunately, RSTP, in its methodical approach to extracting the entire skill transfer sequence, including the smallest of distinctions, from the SME, addresses many of the problems associated with traditional approaches to skill transference, making for a greater degree of success and satisfaction for both the expert and the novice.  (see “What Sets RSTP Apart from Traditional Skill Transference Approaches”)

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