Scope for improvement

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(There might already be a standard term for this that I don't know about.)

By scope for improvement of a skill or learning technique, I mean something like the difference between "how much a person highly skilled in this technique (i.e. a virtuoso user) gets out of it" versus "how much a novice at this technique gets out of it".

It's sort of related to terms like "high variance" and "heavy-tailed".

Thinking in terms of scope of improvement encourages looking at techniques in terms of "What can I get out of this if I master this technique?" rather than "How much did the average participant in this study gain out of this technique?".


  • Spaced repetition seems like a learning technique with large scope for improvement. My impression is that most people use it for things like learning foreign language vocabulary and other "isolated facts" they want to memorize. What they don't do is look at the "masters of spaced repetition" and try to cultivate the skill of using a spaced repetition program for understanding. Michael Nielsen: "I'm particularly grateful to Andy Matuschak for many thoughtful and enjoyable conversations, and especially for pointing out how unusual is the view that Anki can be a virtuoso skill for understanding, not just a means of remembering facts." [1]

See also