Behavioral Sciences

What Is Deliberate Practice?

A short video clip where Adam Jones defines a scaffolding learning method called “deliberate practice”

Deliberate practice consists of using a coach to get feedback, establishing individualized learning objectives, and successfully refining skills for better outcomes. Evidence shows that therapists who regularly engage in deliberate practice have significantly better client outcomes.


Adam Jones:

Now, what deliberate practice is it integrates these four elements, having individualized learning objectives, getting feedback from multiple sources… Getting feedback, whether that’s tracking your performance or tracking outcomes, or getting feedback from other people, and then successfully working on refining specified skills that are targeted toward improving those outcomes. And all of this is kind of centered around the use of a coach. So there is some preliminary evidence about deliberate practice. It’s not necessarily a fun thing. Think of it as working out at the gym. It is something that is meant to be a practice. It’s what happens outside of the therapy room. So we do have some good studies that are starting to come out. One that I really like is the study by Daryl Chow, which was kind of the first one to really identify and look at what people were doing outside of their therapy sessions and they found that people who regularly engaged in deliberate practice activities had significantly better outcomes than those who didn’t.