Month: April 2009

Generalisable aspects of expertise

In introduction to Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance, Anders Ericsson reviews several conceptualisations of generalisable aspects of expertise.

He also elaborates some definitions:

Expertise comprises a set of charactersitics/skills/knowledge that distinguish experts from novices and less experienced peers.

Expert performance denotes types of superior reproducible performance of representative tasks of a domain.

In some domains there are no objective measures of these two notions; subjective measures are then used.  These subjective criteria include:

  • recogntion by peers as a reliable source of knowledge/skill
  • authority and status accorded by public or peers
  • prolonged/intense  experience through practice and education

The subjective criteria are often problematic, for example experience, which could mean that difference from novices are a function of repetition rather than superior skill.

Ericsson outlines key issues in expertise development that are currently not well understood and require further research:

  • How experts organise their knowledge and performance?
  • How can efficiency of learning be improved to reach higher levels of expert performance?
  • Why indviduals improve their performance at different rates and why different people reach different levels of final achievement?
  • What are the mediating mechanisms of expertise development?

Source: Ericsson, A. (2006). An introduction to Cambridge handbook of expertise and expert performance: It’s developemnt, organisation and content.  In Ericsson, K.A., Charness, N., Feltovich, P., & Hoffman, R. (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of expertise and expert performance (pp.3-19). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.


Expertise and self-regulated learning

Zimmerman outlines the key components of expertise.  Each of these components is a necessary but not sufficient condition for development of expertise.

He also elaborates on the differences in self-regulation practices of experts and novices.

Source: Zimmerman, B. (2006). Development and adaptation of expertise: The role of self-regulatory processes and beliefs. In Ericsson, K.A., Charness, N., Feltovich, P., & Hoffman, R. (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of expertise and expert performance (pp.705-722). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

Principles for social object centred social network services

Jyri Engestroem proposes 5 principles for successful social object centred social network service:

1. users must be able to determine the social object within the first 10 seconds (what is your social object?)

2. it should be clear what you do here around the object, eg Buy and Sell on ebay (what are the verbs?)

3. social objects must be shareable, eg permalinks or widgets/embedding (how do you share?)

4. service should support virality – turn each invitation to join into a gift, eg when you are sending your contacts a funny YouTube video you are sending them a smile

5. charge the publisher not the spectator – nobody wants to pay before they see what they are getting

More on what makes a good social object.

Developmental level of self-regulatory skills in the workplace

Barry Zimmerman in his article Attaining self-regulation: A social congintive perspective argues that most skills (congnitive and motoric) are initially acquired by observing, reading, or hearing about the performance of skilled social models (teachers, experts, experienced peers, etc). He argues that the socially-conveyed skills become self-regulated through a series of levels. These developmental levels of regulatory skills are:

Level 1- Observation-Vicarious induction of a skill from a proficient model

Level 2 – Emulation-Imitative performance of the general pattern/style of a model’s skill with social assistance

Level 3-Self-control-Independent display of the model’s skill under sturctured conditions

Level 4 -Self-regulation-Adaptive use of skill across changing personal and environmental conditions

Zimmerman says that there is evidence that the speed and quality of the development of self-regulatory skills “can be enhanced significantly if learners proceed according to a multilevel developmental hierarchy” (p. 31). He then describes an unpublished study by Kistantas, Zimmerman and Cleary* who compared the development of dart skill by novices who learned initially from modelling (a skilled dart player demonstrated dart throwing strategies and provided feedback on a selective basis) with that of learners who initally learned from enactment.  The study found that learners who had the benefit of modelling “significantly surpassed the dart skill of those who attempted to learn from performance outcomes only” (p. 31). And “learners who received feedback learned better than those who practiced on their own, but the feedback was insufficient to make up for the absence of vicarious experience” (p.31). Learners exposed to strategic modelling “showed higher levels of self-motivation according to an array of measures such as self-efficacy and intrinsic interest than students who realied on discovery and social feedback” (p.32).

It would be interesting to conduct a similar study in the context of self-regulated learning in the workplace (non-instructional, non-formal learning), in addition to extending it to cognitive rather than only motoric skills.  It would also be interesting to study to what extent exerienced peers can facilitate development of self-regulatory skills in the workplace during levels 1-4.

* Kistantas, A., Zimmerman, B., & Cleary, T. (1999). Observation and imitation phases in the development of motoric self-regulation. Unpublished manuscript. Graduate School of the City University of New York.