A Noble Eightfold Path: Novice to Expert in E-Learning and the Efficacy of Instructional Design

A Noble Eightfold Path: Novice to Expert in E-Learning and the Efficacy of Instructional Design

Julia Penn Shaw (State University of New York - Empire State College, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-441-3.ch007
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Teachers teach to the level of their ability: novices can teach students to be novices: experts can teach students to be experts. Using the Buddhist Eightfold Path as a model, this chapter explores the expert/novice paradigm as a framework for e-learning, particularly as offered through instructional design that can both scaffold novice instructors to teach to a higher level of learning, and also support experts to help students reach higher goals. Three facets of the teaching/learning dialogue are explored: expertise in a domain of knowledge (teacher), expertise in acquiring deep knowledge in a new domain through learning (learner), and expertise in the instructor/learner learning interface (instructional designer). Expert and novice teaching and learning and their relationship through instructional designers will be discussed.
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Experts And Novices In E-Learning

You probably already know much of what is presented in this chapter about advantages of instructional design in e-learning environments. What might be different is to view it from the expert/novice perspective. The expert/novice paradigm is one more conceptual tool in the tool-bag of the teacher, the instructional designer, and/or the learner. For example, would learners respond differently to the challenges of learning within a domain if they consciously identify themselves as seeking to become experts? Are there effective ways to measure the characteristics identified with expertise, such as ‘flow’, ‘discipline’, etc? What are the particular hurdles of a domain expert in teaching a novice? How can the backbone of essential knowledge within a domain be built such that details fall into place effectively and with greatest retention and potential usefulness? The expert/novice paradigm opens up interesting questions and may lead to additional rich and productive dialogue between teachers, learners, and instructional designers.

Significant work has established the value of researching differences between novices and experts in various domains (Gills, 1999; Ortega, 1987; Greening, 1998; Wiedenbeck, 1985). Initially, differentiated levels of skill were used to create computerized knowledge engines or knowledge systems that replicated processes used by experts guiding novices toward higher levels of achievement in the military, particularly airline pilots (Endsley, Farley, Jones, McKiff & Hansman, 1998; Morrow, Miller, Ridulfo, Kokayeff, Chang, Fischer & Stein-Morrow, 2004) and in industry, particularly computer programmers (Perkins & Martin, 1986). As the continuum of novice to expert became better known, its relationships to other types of learning, knowledge-acquisition, and skill-building for both children and adults became a source of interest, connecting novice/expert frameworks to business applications (business management, Reuber & Fischer, 1992); social constructivist education (Meyer, 2004; Duckworth, 2006); and adult learning process (Rich & Almozlino, 1999; Meyer, 2004; Shaw, 2005).

The focus of this chapter is on using the expert/novice paradigm to improve reused (not ‘one off’) undergraduate e-learning environments through instructional design. Because of its digital base, e-learning can support knowledge-engines and algorithmic skill training. Skills which require over-practice to build expertise are especially promising e-learning applications. Expertise is shown through demonstration and application of identified sequences that are measureable against quantifiable standards. Educational domains having known skill paths (e.g., science, music, and project management) attract application of the expert/novice paradigm into e-learning (Burns, Parlett & Redfield, 2009; Keefe & Jenkins, 1997).

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