Expert vs Novice Learners
“Expert learners consider the knowledge explicitly and separate from the present task. There is consideration for when and where that knowledge can be used in the future. They negotiate meaning with their peers. They ask questions. They seek answers and construct solutions.”
Metacognitive skills include, not only this knowledge, but an awareness and ability to engage in “planning activities prior to undertaking a problem (predicting outcomes, scheduling strategies, various forms of vicarious trial and error, etc.), monitoring activities during learning (testing, revising, rescheduling one’s strategies for learning), and checking outcomes (evaluating the outcome of any strategic actions against criteria of efficiency and effectiveness).” 1 Intentional Learners are assertive in their approach to learning. They set goals – both task and cognitive goals. They choose to, and are able to, apply any unused mental effort to increase their proficiency on the task or to generalize that which is being learned to other tasks or other domains. They consider, not only the task at hand, but also the larger spectrum in which such learning is embedded. The student considers the knowledge explicitly and separate from the present task. There is consideration for when and where that knowledge can be used in the future. They negotiate meaning with their peers. They ask questions. They seek answers and construct solutions.
Expert versus Novice Behaviour
Intentional learners are learning to become expert at becoming expert. That is to say, not only are they learning declarative, subject matter and procedural functionality, they are acquiring valuable metacognitive knowledge as well. Experts across domains demonstrate consistent general problem solving strategies. Some of these include:
- an ability and predisposition to think about planning, monitoring and reflecting
- setting goals
- generating alternate representations of the problem space (pictures, charts, models)
- breaking tasks into smaller units (mind-size bites - Seymour Papert)
- relating old knowledge to new; new to future, etc.
- generating alternate solution strategies before selecting and embarking on one course of action
- sequencing a series of strategic moves
- identifying unknowns in the task at hand
- recognizing similarities among problems and relating this to the task at hand
- identifying what was learned while engaged in a task and relating it to other tasks (across time and space)
- planning steps both in advance and in reflection
- -asking more about procedures in programming whereas novices ask more about outcomes and products
- (1)Brown, A.L., Bransford, J.D., Ferrara, R.A., & Campione, J.C. (1983). Learning, remembering, and understanding. In J.H. Flavell & E.M. Markman (Eds.), Handbook of Child Psychology: Vol. 3, Cognitive Development (4th ed.). (pp. 77-166). New York: John Wiley & Sons.