Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Curse of Knowledge

The Curse of Knowledge... Lots of research in economics and psychology shows that when we know something, it becomes hard for us to imagine not knowing it. As a result, we become lousy communicators. Think of a lawyer who can’t give you a straight, comprehensible answer to a legal question. His vast knowledge and experience renders him unable to fathom how little you know. So when he talks to you, he talks in abstractions that you can’t follow. And we’re all like the lawyer in our own domain of expertise.

- Chip Heath and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, in an interview

Experts don’t know how they do what they do, by and large... expertise implies becoming so practiced that the process is inaccessible to conscious thought.
- Clark Quinn in a blog post
This is why experts (or SMEs) often do not make good trainers or instructional designers. They have a hard time putting themselves in the shoes of novice learners.

In training development, not knowing the content is actually an advantage because you have the "beginner's mind."