Too much hard work has kept me from blogging recently, but there’s a lesson here. David Batstone’s Right Reality newsletter the WAG, a great source of inspiration, pointed me to a report that says that hard work, not natural talent, is the key to success.
While people have often suggested it’s both, the research suggests that there’s no such thing as a natural talent for a specific thing. Moreover, the fact that some people continue on to greatness in any particular thing is due to ‘deliberate practice': “activity that’s explicitly intended to improve performance”.
I think there’re two parts to that. One is finding or knowing the right thing to do, and the second is maintaining persistence through an increasing level of difficulty. Neither is a given. Maybe the natural talent is to figure out what you want to do and be willing to pursue it. The necessary adjunct is arranging the necessary support.
Really, that’s what I think we should be doing with good learning game design, using the story and setting the level of challenge to maintain motivation, and then ensuring that the embedded decisions are the necessary skills we want to develop.
There’s more, properly representing the concept, providing useful models of applying the concept to the context, supporting reflection to cement and extend the learning, but not only is this great news for anyone who has a passion, it’s also a boost for the value of good learning design.