Expert to Novice and back again
Problem Solving Knowledge Transfer: An Expert's Perspective by DeAnna Myers is a Capstone research report from Northwestern's Master in Learning and Organizational Change (where I was on faculty for a few years). Abstract:
Engineering firms in the power generation industry, like many knowledge organizations, commonly attempt to sustain their intellectual capital by utilizing in-house experts to train novice staff, but an expert’s ability to predict what is necessary to transfer knowledge to novice learners can be compromised by biases associated with an expert’s superior level of expertise (Hinds, 1999). This study surveyed how one organization’s experts perceive the task of novice-level knowledge transfer, and compared these perceptions to feedback from novices who participated in their classes. Findings from the study suggest that experts misdiagnose novice learning needs and though they usually attempt to adjust content to accommodate the novice learner, those adjustments are less successful than the experts perceive.
There are some classic knowledge transfer / knowledge sharing aspects mentioned in this study. The report looks at the expert's approach to knowledge transfer within an organization. I see similar things happening when outside experts come in as well, but then there is another layer of cultural concerns, such as "not invented here."
I could imagine a parallel study that looks at the novice's ability to "know what she doesn't know" and know how to ask questions. There are, of course, many pieces to this puzzle, but it is always good to see people thinking about it.
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