The Journey from Novice to Expert

The journey from novice to expert begins with desire and ignorance, and ends with confidence and competence. This journey is filled with uncertainty, insecurity, and fear, balanced with a growing clarity, ability, and sense of achievement. As with most epic journeys, there are companions and guides. For a novice there are other learners and educators.

In general, educators know what they know and know how to apply what they know. They can do this because they possess rich mental schemas in their area of expertise. Learners on the other hand are faced with the daunting task of building, extending, and refining their own schemas.

Applied learning activities, mental schemas, and assessments
One approach used by educators to build expertise in learners is to segment course material into sections of what needs to be known,  and present those sections in a meaningful sequence. Another  is to present learning activities and have learners decide what needs to be known, and take responsibility for learning the material and constructing their own mental schema. With either approach and those in between, the question remains, "How do you know that learners have mastered the learning objectives, and can apply what they have learned?"

The Applied Learning Platform available for use on this site is used to create and present applied learning activities such as a case scenario for learners to analyze and assess. Their assessments are in the form of an outline that contains both their assertions about what is occurring in the scenario, along with their observations from the scenario that support those assertions. A completed assessment allows  educators and learners to "see" the mastery of learning objectives, along with the ability to apply course material. Thought is brought into sight.

Learning to analyze applied learning activities in stages
Applied learning activities for a course can begin with completed assessments for learners to study, followed by activities with partially completed assessments that learners can finish, and finally activities that learners must solve on their own. A set of activities can be designed to build upon, extend, and reinforce previous learning objectives, with each new activity introducing a manageable amount of additional material.

"Now I see what you are thinking"
Case assessments are tangible representations of what learners and educators know, along with their ability to apply what they know. In essence, mental schemas are brought into sight, not unlike the way artists uses brushes, paints, and a canvas to create art. The art for learners is their growing expertise, and the art for educators is learners who are further along on their journey to acquire that expertise.