If repeated practice is important – why does homework fail to help students to learn?

On the one hand, you have voices like Malcolm Gladwell who, in his book Outliers, wrote about the 10,000 hour rule: the phenomenon where exposure, experience, and repetition were key distinguishing ingredients of countless successful peoples’ lives (like Robert Oppenheimer, Bill Gates, and The Beatles).

On the other, you have an increasing number of studies showing that homework and academic success aren’t correlated. (That is to say doing homework doesn’t mean better grades – and students who are given no homework perform just as well as their more studious peers.)

It turns out that exposure (i.e. hitting your 10,000 hours) is valuable.

And repetition works.

But showing up for repeated exposure is only half the battle.

If you want to get the most value from that exposure – you need a metacognitive approach.

Metacognition is all about thinking about how you think – being aware of what you’re aware of (or not-yet-aware-of) – and developing an understanding about how much you do (or don’t) understand.

Teachers who move from grading students on “getting the right answer” see higher levels of anxiety and tension in the classroom, lower levels of self-awareness and the ability to self-teach, and lower ability to transfer learnings to other subjects or other life experiences.

But when the focus is on metacognitive activities such as journalling and self-reflection tasks – learners experience less anxiety and tension, achieve greater self-awareness, become able to self-serve and self-direct their own learning rather than relying on authority figures for direction and answers, and achieve greater skill transference to other areas of life.

Plus, they also see an improvement in scores in “getting the right answer” style testing.

Why does this matter to marketing?

It’s because the recipe for great marketing isn’t in a book that has already been written for you.

The recipe is more likely to be found in a book you write yourself: your journal of self reflection.

Learning a new marketing strategy is a one-time skill learned for a single-scenario purpose.

But understanding WHY or HOW the strategy works for you gives you an infinitely applicable skill that will transcend your abilities in sales and marketing.

Keep reading down this metacognition rabbit hole:

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