Experts Don't Know

Now here’s a thing. It’s widely recognised that experts – that is individuals highly skilled in a field of work - often do not know why they do what they do and are unable to describe why they take particular actions.

Why is this?

Security and event experts will ‘read’ a crowd or audience and will predict the likelihood of something happening. Teachers, nurses, managers and doctors often the same, ‘seeing’ things before they happen when everything seems normal.

Is it because they have done what they do so many times in the past that it’s become second nature? Are they spotting patterns that the rest of us don’t see? Is the skill so deeply embedded that they look for the features of a situation and adapt their practice to them without thinking?

Think about people you know who you would consider as experts. How well are they able to explain why they do what they do? How do we learn from them?

There’s a lot to be said for ‘Sitting by Nellie’ or shadowing in order to absorb the way an expert operates. Increasingly experts are consciously developing the ability to stand outside themselves, to monitor the what, how and why of what they do. This way expertise can be passed on.


Print