My thoughts: I was fascinated to learn about the effects of worked examples, and the impact of modeling on novice learners, especially in reducing the toll learning takes on the working memory. I hadn’t thought about this before! It seems that as tasks become less definitive and structured in nature, the expertise reversal effect is less of a problem (Nievelstein, et al., 2012). In my work as a teacher in the humanities, this is actually really good news. Very little of learning to read, think critically, and write clearly is a cut and dried task. Like the example of law students learning to reason cases, my students have a myriad of possibilities for which direction they should take a paper, through which lens they should read a passage, or which evidence to use in support of their arguments. I could see the value of providing a worked example for two different ways to take an argument, or a few different ways to interpret a passage. Much of what I read reinforces the need for adept differentiation within the classroom -- matching instruction with skill level and mastery. I’ve been re-reading Carol Ann Tomlinson’s (1999, 2010) work in this area, and recommend her books to any of you who are in the classroom and are looking for strategies.
What I'm reading:
- Nievelstein, F., van, G., Tamara, van, D., Gijs, & Boshuizen, H. P. A. (2013). The worked example and expertise reversal effect in less structured tasks: Learning to reason about legal cases. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 38(2), 118–125.
- Tomlinson, C (1999). The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.