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  • Matthew Wilson

Learning & Performance: What is the Difference?

The difference between learning and performance is an important distinction.


Learning refers to relatively permanent changes in knowledge or behavior.


Performance, in a teaching context, is a temporary change in behavior that can be measured or observed during (or shortly after) instruction.


More aptly stated, Learning is a ‘later’ measure; it measures if the performance level of the movement or skill has changed, over time.


In session change? Performance. Retention over time? Learning. Just because performance improved in a session, does not mean that any learning has occurred; that takes considerable time and effort. Similarly, just because performance in a session didn’t improve, doesn’t mean learning and positive change won’t emerge with practice.


These SAM reports demonstrate learning; through 6 months of mindful practice, the changes in aim and start line performance, have stabilized at a significantly higher level.



Don’t confuse performance with learning. If learning is what you are after, identify what needs to improve, have a plan, work the plan, and monitor progress along the way.

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