Albert Ziegler, PhD, is Chair Professor of Educational Psychology and Research on Excellence at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. He is the Founding Director of the State-wide Counseling and Research Centre for the Gifted. He has published approx. 400 books, chapters and articles in the fields of talent development and educational psychology. Presently he serves as the Secretary-General of the International Research Association for Talent Development and Excellence (IRATDE), as Vice-President of the European Council for High Ability (ECHA), and as Chairman of the European Talent Support Network (ETSN). He is Editor-in-Chief of High Ability Studies, the scholarly journal of the ECHA. Since 2017 he is also a Director at the World Giftedness Center in Dubai.
Exogenous and Endogenous Learning Resources and Their Significance for Talent Development
My presentation focuses on a simple question that has puzzled research almost 150 years: How can education help talents to live up to their potential? In the past, education focused predominantly on the talented individuals. However, within both research and practice, there has also long been a profound interest to not only identify talented individuals but also to identify what has been described as “gifted environments”, “smart contexts”, or “talent hotspots”. These concepts share the idea that not only do individuals differ in their potential to attain extraordinary accomplishments but also environments differ in their potential to make extraordinary accomplishments possible. Modern theories of talent development thus maintain that the target of gifted education is no longer the gifted individual, but the entirety consisting of the individual and her/his material, social, and informational environments. Such an entirety has been termed in the Actiotope Model of Giftedness an actiotope. The Actiotope Model of Giftedness subscribes to a learning resource-oriented approach for talent development. However, learning resources are located not only in the environment but also within the individual, thus making it necessary to devise a theory that encompasses both: exogenous learning resources outside the individual and endogenous learning resources within the individual. These resources serve two main functions: Endogenous learning resources are necessary to process and make full use of exogenous learning resources and they underlie effective actions. In the presentation, 1) a comprehensive categorization of learning resources is offered, including five exogenous learning resources termed educational capital and five endogenous learning resources termed learning capital. 2) Practical implications of a learning resource orientation for talent development are discussed with a special emphasis on underachievement.