You are on page 1of 4

Talent v.

Training: Using Learning Curves
to Examine the Extent to which Effort can
Overcome a Lack of Talent
Talent in literature review
Simple repetition is a necessary condition for progress but a great deal
more is necessary as well. Mastery in a field requires innate ability, an
eagerness to work and doing a great deal of very laborious work. It is
also believed that heredity played an important role, with successful
people often having successful ancestors.
There are ways of measuring performance in a wide variety of fields,
ELO ratings for chess players, Watkins-Farnum for music sight-reading,
GPA for students. None of these are direct measures of talent.
To measure Talent acurately is almost impossible task. Talent is a
qualitative attribute of human beings and there are debates to quantify
it for the purpose of its measurement.
For the purpose of this analysis, our proxy for talent will be Learning
Rate. While one cannot say exactly how talented a person with an
75% learning rate is, it is easy to argue that they are more talented
than another person with a 85% learning rate. Faster learning
suggests more talent.
There are two views that may or may not be in conflict :

One states that, with enough hard work,around 10000 hours of
focused practice, that anyone can be good at anything.

The other suggests that everyone has some special talent, and
that it is just a matter of finding it.

The idea that everyone has talent was put forward by Buckingham
and Clifton after examining over 2 million surveys gathered by The
Gallup Organization over a 30 year period they posit that everyone is
capable of doing something better than the next 10,000 people.
Maxwell combines these ideas with the speculation that if one’s ability
is measured on a 1 to 10 scale, that whatever a person’s initial score
on a given ability, effort can raise that score by 2 points. If you initially
score a 7 in a particular area, effort will allow you to rise to a 9.

This argues that it is not simply the accumulated hours of practice but also the nature of practice in those hours.Maxwell claims that effort in the right area will take you from being better than the next 10. failing. For our purposes. b is (log(learning rate)/log(2)). 2 y or T i me n is the time required for the nt h 3 a or T i me 1 is the time required for the 1 4 5 Learning Rate is the learning rate. Performance Score attained by the nt h is the initial Performance Score. and trying again. They learn by trying. P e r f o r m a n c e1 a or P e r f o r m a n c en here to 100. standardized . 2 y or 3 hours of practice. Pilots learn how to fly in bad weather by flying in real of simulated bad weather. the model will become: P e r f o r m a n c en=P e r f o r ma n c e 1∗n(l o g (T a l en t )/l o g (2)) Where: th n 1 x or n is the hour of practice. th unit.000 people to being better than the next 100. not in the routine performances of a task. unit.000. Deep practice occurs at the edge of one’s ability. Learning Curves and Adaptations of the Model The basic learning curve model as it exists in modern text books looks like the following: y=a*(x^b) or (l o g (l ea r ni n g r a t e)/l o g(2)) T i me n=T i me 1∗n Where: nt h 1 x or n is the unit produced. The question then becomes how much effort? Coyle also argues that deep practice is not the same as simple repetition. not by flying on warm sunny days.

Based on the findings of the researchers.8)/log(2) b ## [1] -0. Simulations and Comparisons In order to examine the relationship between talent and effort. we are recasting the speed of production to an arbitrary general measure of performance ability. with faster production times being preferred to slower times.e. The usual horizontal access is in units produced.3219281 y .4 b is log(Talent)/log(2) where Talent is the analog of the learning rate. Case 1 a = 100 and x= 20 ( i. we will simulate learning by students with differing levels of talent and differing practice habits. Simulation : Equal Talent with Unequal Time The model : y = ax^b Now. The Performance Score is structured with P1 = 100 and lower numbers being preferred. b is -0.3219281.3219281 Therefore. Instead of casting this in hours practiced. This allows us to compare the progress that subjects have made over comparable time periods when the effort expended in those time periods is not the same. 20 hours of practice) y= 100 * 20^-0.8 b= log(. equal Talent is 80% or . The vertical axis in a learning curve represents time necessary to th produce the n unit. we will use 72% as the learning rate of a very talented individual and 86% for a relatively untalented individual. One other change has been made in the presentation of this model. The learning rate will serve as a proxy for an individual’s level of talent. we will cast this in the passing of calendar time. This is an important difference in our representation of the data. For this model.We will assume that the average learner learns at an 80% rate.

e.3219281 y ## [1] 23.48954 Therefore.36192 Case 3 a = 100 and x= 90( i.12079 Therefore.36192 Therefore.12079 Case 2 a = 100 and x= 45( i.48954 So. 45 hours of practice) y= 100 * 45^-0.## [1] 38. Time required for nt h unit is 23. Time required for nt h unit is 29.3219281 y ## [1] 29. if the employees are in the same Talent level. the conclusion is. 90 hours of practice) y= 100 * 90^-0. takes lesser time to perform the n unit. th one who has more training. Time required for th n unit is 38.e. .