ERIC Number: ED261190
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985
Reference Count: N/A
The Nature of Expertise. Occasional Paper No. 107.
Information-processing students solving problems in the 1960s and 1970s accepted the tradition of early experimental psychology in concentrating primarily on the study of "knowledge-lean" tasks in which competence can usually be acquired over short periods of learning and experience. In recent years, experts have examined knowledge-rich tasks that require hundreds and thousands of hours of learning and experience in an area of study. Investigations of problem solving in knowledge-rich domains show strong interactions between structures of knowledge and cognitive processes. Data and theory in developmental psychology, studies of expert/novice problem solving, and process analyses of high and low scorers on intelligence and aptitude test tasks show that a major component of expertise is seen to be the possession of accessible and usable knowledge. Five generalizations can be made about the nature of expertise: first, there seems to be a continuous development of competence, as experience in a field accumulates; second, expertise seems to be very specific; third, experts develop the ability to perceive large, meaningful patterns; fourth, the knowledge of experts is highly procedural; and fifth, these components of expertise enable fact-access pattern recognition and representational capability that facilitate problem perception, greatly reducing the role of memory search and general processing. Increased understanding of the nature of expertise challenges educators to inquire how it is learned. It seems evident that expertise is acquired when people continually try to confront new situations in terms of what they know. Thus, when teaching beginners, teachers must build from initial knowledge structures. Acquiring expertise is the successive development of procedurally oriented knowledge structures that facilitate the processes of expertise. (KC)
Descriptors: Cognitive Development, Cognitive Structures, Learning Processes, Learning Strategies, Memory, Pattern Recognition, Postsecondary Education, Problem Solving, Secondary Education
National Center Publications, National Center for Research in Vocational Education, 1960 Kenny Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1090 (OC107--$3.00).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Ohio State Univ., Columbus. National Center for Research in Vocational Education.