Tricot, A., & Sweller, J. (2014).
Domain-specific knowledge and why teaching generic skills does not work.
Educational Psychology Review, 26, 265-283.
Domain-general skills are skills that can
be used to solve any problem in any area. Tricot and Sweller argue that these
skills are acquired automatically for biological evolutionary reasons and so
are unteachable. Examples of such biologically primary knowledge include
learning to listen and speak, learning to recognize faces, engage in social
relations, or basic number sense.
Domain-specific knowledge, on the other
hand, refers to memorized information that can lead to action permitting
specified task completion over indefinite periods of time. Tricot and Sweller
argue that acquiring domain-specific knowledge requires learning of specific
rules for solving a problem (e.g., an equation), and the moves associated with this state (e.g., when the equation
must be applied). The authors consider domain-specific information to be
teachable aspects of problem solving skills. The acquisition of this
domain-specific or biologically secondary knowledge is viewed as heavily
dependent on the prior acquisition of primary knowledge. Tricot and Sweller go
on to review several lines of evidence showing that expert knowledge in a
specific domain does not yield expertise across domains, but can be applied
within the domain to advantage.
The authors provide two examples of
instructional strategies that follow from their views on the acquisition of
domain-general (biologically primary) and domain-specific (biologically
secondary) information. (1) The worked
example effect. Novice learners benefit from studying worked example
formats. Studying a worked exampled reduces the amount of extraneous
(unnecessary) work being done by working memory to generate a large set of
potential solutions to a problem. By seeing the solution, working memory
resources can be devoted to learning to recognize the problem and its
associated moves. (2) The expertise
reversal effect. Reviewing worked examples is a disadvantage for expert
learners probably because working memory resources are devoted to information
the expert learner has already acquired. Instead, expert learners need practice
at solving the problems so that they can more automatically recognize the
relevant problems and their associated moves.
Blogger: Lisa Archibald
Posted By Project Coordinator to The Canadian SLP
at 5/28/2015 01:07:00 PM