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Saravanan B

Are you the master of your trade? - Part 2

In my previous blog Are you the master of your trade? - Part 1, we learnt about the importance of "Deliberate Practice" for achieving expert performance. In this blog, I am going to address some contrasting differences between experts and novices performance. For understanding this, Psychologists and Cognitive Scientists have developed a vast amount of literature to exhibit how these two distinct groups operate. One of the key factors that stood out was the way in which the knowledge structure was built. In a nutshell, there is a stark difference between experts and novices differ in the processes of understanding, recalling, storing, manipulating of information in a particular area. Now the question comes, how is that this difference arises? 

An answer to that boils down to how the training happens. Numerous studies have shown that "Experts and novices prefer different instructional approaches." In other words, people tend to build on what they already knew. Additionally, the instructional design used for novices might not work for experts due to a myriad of other factors (Knapp, 2012). In this regard, it is essential to understand the contrasting effects of the type of training design that needs to be implemented for each subset of groups.  

Studies have shown that "Expert's performance tends to be more automatic and intuitive." This phenomenon is attributed to the fact that the experts spend a considerable amount of time and build the discipline to understand the cause of the matter. Also, when an individual attains mastery over a particular area, he or she tends to focus on critical areas of a specific problem and understands the importance of not missing the forests for trees. Similarly, novices show the exact opposite pattern; because their knowledge and problem solving is based only on rules. Researchers have attributed this due to the lack of experience of novices in a particular domain.

Additionally, beginners spend less time analysing the problem on what's happening and on contemplating on what needs to be done. On the contrary, experts spend more time and detect problems and find solutions intuitively. Interestingly, experts tend to have developed their metacognitive skills which enable them to monitor their performance and also in understanding the improvements they have made.

In this regard, it is essential for the novices to have the right toolsets to achieve expert performance. As experiences grew, the mental models get deeply rooted to solve problems unconsciously and intuitively. However, it should also be kept in mind that the right kind of instructional design should be used by observing the underlying subset of groups.

Lastly, in my upcoming series "Are you the master of your trade?', I will be writing about where novices perform better than experts.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog.

Please feel free to read and share your views.


Knapp, K. (2012). Some differences between experts and novices. Saddle River, NJ.

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