How to Incorporate Deliberate Practice in Course and Curriculum Design

Deliberate practice is a training technique used to acquire high levels of expertise. Although there is increasing evidence of its relevance to higher education, two obstacles to its widespread adoption persist.   1. Due to its origins as a one-on-one coaching technique, deliberate practice is difficult to apply in traditional college classrooms.  2. Because the curriculum must be designed from the start to implement deliberate practice principles, instructional design guidelines are needed.

To help overcome these obstacles we develop an eight-step instructional design model called SPARRING that incorporates all deliberate practice principles into one conceptual framework. We also share 13 pedagogical techniques that can be used in and outside of the classroom to implement deliberate practice in higher education.

Using the SPARRING framework, we show that these techniques can deliver an authentic deliberate practice experience, even in traditional college settings. At a time of major disruptions in higher education, the SPARRING framework offers a new pathway for traditional residential colleges interested in teaching real-world skills that employers value in a manner not easily replicated by artificial intelligence.

Francois Giraud-Carrier
Weber State University
Amydee M. Fawcett
Weber State University
Stanley E. Fawcett
Weber State University