What if "The Expert" is not an Expert?

Year: 1985

Author: Lawrence, Jeanette, Gumley, Alastair, McGaw, Barry

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Training of problem solving skills is greatly influenced by current descriptions of the behaviours of experts. Our critical review of empirical studies on the nature of expertise reveals sampling and methodological shortcomings which can bias pedagogical programs. A model of expert performance is pre- sented and applied to the research literature which clarifies methodological problems.

The model lays out three dimensions to the identification of expert performance; experience, knowledge or skill, and social recog- nition of excellence. Interactions of the three dimensions are compared for defining expertise in different professional and academic areas. It is argued that pedagogical inferences based on the expertise research literature are limited by lack of conceptual rigour and a uni-dimensional view of expert performance. The concepts of the model are proposed as a focus for critical evaluation and application of research findings to training for excellence.