Learning curves

What if most task learning takes place very early in the learning process, with refinements and “expertise” coming later and at much greater cost in time involved in the task?

For example what if most of our driving skills come from the first 50-100 hours of driving? Interestingly this is the amount if driving time required to get a license in Oregon so the state seems to feel it’s “enough time” to drive safely, I’d agree and suggest this is the case for most task learning.

IF TRUE across many tasks, then I’d suggest we should be spending a lot LESS time teaching people refined skills because the return on that time investment goes way down as we continue. Rather we should be *introducing* kids to more things so they can choose which to pursue in depth later in life. This is done to some extent – I think more than in the 1950s – but I see little reason to push calculus on students who often lack basic investment math skills UNLESS they’ve chosen a career where calculus is important. There are not many of those, and you hardly close doors by substituting practical life skills for advanced math (or science, or literature) studies.

As adults we should focus on learning new approaches and information rather than refining our expertise in very restricted areas *unless* our life depends on that expertise. Though I’m not even sure in this latter case that broader learning won’t trump specialized learning in terms of producing a well rounded intellect capable of handling the varied and sundry tasks of the modern world.

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