Monday, August 06, 2007

Teach Like An Expert

In a LOEX Quarterly 2-part series, Eric Frierson applies 6 principles of the effects of expertise on instruction to library instruction. These 6 principles were taken from How People Learn.

  1. Experts notice features and meaningful patterns of information that are not noticed by novices,” so teach information in chunks.
  2. Experts have acquired a great deal of content knowledge that is organized in ways that reflect a deep understanding of their subject matter,” so help students see the ‘big picture.’
  3. Experts' knowledge cannot be reduced to sets of isolated facts or propositions but, instead, reflects contexts of applicability: that is, the knowledge is ‘conditionalized’ on a set of circumstances,” so help students understand how and when to use the information learned.
  4. Experts are able to flexibly retrieve important aspects of their knowledge with little attentional effort,” so make each step clear.
  5. Though experts know their disciplines thoroughly, this does not guarantee that they are able to teach others,” so study pedagogy.
  6. “Experts have varying levels of flexibility in their approach to new situations” so teach students to be flexible as they apply the information learned in different situations.

In summary of part I, Frierson states:

“Think of ways to chunk instruction into pieces that fit together to form a whole, providing students with organizing ideas to help them recall strategies associated with one another. Describe how each chunk fits together to explain the big picture of library research, and then find a way to say that to students. Finally, think about how and when students will be using these tools. Tailor the instruction to frame the tools in those ‘how’s and ‘when’s.”


John D. Bransford, Ann L. Brown, and Rodney R. Cocking, eds. “How Experts Differ from Novices.” How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington DC: National Academy Press, 1999.

Eric Frierson. “Instructional Design with Expertise in Mind (Part 1)” LOEX Quarterly, Winter 2007: 4-5+

Eric Frierson. “Instructional Design with Expertise in Mind (Part 2)” LOEX Quarterly, Spring 2007: 4-5+

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