SXSW 2017

What We Can Learn From Master Athletes & Musicians


Masters across diverse fields are distinguished by the four practices of intentional focus, consistent challenge, quick feedback, and repetition to automaticity. If the habits that produce elite performance can be identified and scaled successfully for the average person, then perhaps mastery can be democratized and made accessible to all. The field of adaptive learning is well-suited for this challenge. It is now possible to create learner-centered experiences that adjust in real-time to provide each individual with an optimal level of focus, challenge, feedback, and repetition. These new technologies can ensure that each individual attains mastery and has a chance to succeed.

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  1. Is talent born or made? What distinguishes masters and elite performers across fields as diverse as sports, music, and the visual arts?
  2. If mastery across fields is produced by identifiable practices, can we democratize mastery and make it accessible for everyone in the workplace?
  3. Given emerging technologies like adaptive and data-driven learning, what platforms exist to help everyone habituate the practices of masters?



Christina Yu, Head of Mktg, Learning Science Platforms, McGraw-Hill Education

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