How experts differ from novices?

Consider these key principles of experts’ knowledge and their potential implications for learning and instruction:

1. Experts notice features and meaningful patterns of information that are not noticed by novices
2. Experts have acquired a great deal of content knowledge that is organized in ways that reflect a deep understanding of their subject matter
3. Experts’ knowledge cannot be reduced to sets of isolated facts or propositions but, instead, reflects contexts of applicability: the knowledge is conditionalized on a set of circumstances.
4. Experts are able to flexibly retrieve important aspects of their knowledge with little attentional effort
5. Though experts know their disciplines thoroughly, this does not guarantee that they are able to teach others
6. Experts have varying levels of flexibility in their approach to new situations

What Expert and Novice Teachers Notice
Expert and novice teachers notice very different things when viewing a videotape of a classroom lesson

Expert 1. The students’ note taking indicates that they have seen sheets like this and have had presentations like this before; it’s fairly efficient at this point because they’re used to the format they are using

Novice 1. I can’t tell what they are doing. They’re getting ready for class, but I can’t tell what they’re doing

Expert 2. I don’t understand why the students can’t be finding out this information on their own rather than
listening to someone tell them because if you watch the faces of most of them, they start out for about the first 2 or minutes sort of paying attention to what’s going on and then just drift off.

Novice 2. She’s trying to communicate with them here about something, but I sure couldn’t tell what it was.

Expert 3.I haven’t heard a bell, but the students are already at their desks and seem to be doing purposeful activity, and this is about the time that I decide they must be an accelerated group because they came into the room and started soemthing rather than just sitting down and socializing.

Novice 3. It’s a lot to watch.

  1. In the case of online learning, especially with Web 2.0 applications in K-12 or Higher Education, what are the differences between Expert and Novice Teachers?
  2. What do you think are the differences that expert and novice teachers would notice in Elluminate or Adobe or Forum sessions?

How People Learn, National Research Council






What is learning?

Learning is about change and transformation  – about the human ability to grow, to alter maladaptive behaviours and to generate new, adaptive and successful actions.

Learning is about reinventing oneself – creating new stories, new identities and new futures.  Learning recognises that the self is not a fixed entity, but is fluid and always in a state of becoming. 

Learning is a journey where the journey is as important as the destination.


Skiffington, S., Zeus P. 2003.  The Complete Guide to Coaching at Work