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Open Access Reconsidering the dimensions of expertise: from linear stages towards dual processing

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This paper explores the developing concept of expertise, taking the Dreyfus and Dreyfus staged model as its starting point. It analyses criticism of the Dreyfus model and considers more recent attempts to resolve the tensions implicit within it. The authors go on to suggest ways some of the later modifications can be improved. The traditional notion of intuition is revisited and thereafter a new and novel way of visualising expertise is presented as a dual-processing relationship between chains of practice and the underlying networks of understanding. These chain and net knowledge structures have been revealed through the analysis of concept maps produced by numerous cohorts of students and teachers. It is argued that a visualisation of the dynamic relationship between the dimensions of expertise provides an emerging theoretical framework for a more general reappraisal of teaching in higher education. This reconsideration of expertise may be the catalyst for dialogue about educational practice within disciplines (between lecturers and between lecturers and students), and between lecturers and educational developers. This dialogue will strengthen disciplinary communities of practice and place the agenda for pedagogic change within the context of the academic disciplines.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-07-01

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  • London Review of Education (LRE) is an international peer-reviewed journal featuring rigorous, theoretically based research into contemporary education. Based at the UCL Institute of Education in London, the journal reflects the Institute's broad interests in all types of education in all contexts - local, national, global - and its commitment to analysis across disciplines using a variety of methodologies. It shares the Institute's aspiration to interrogate links between research, policy and practice, and its principled concern for social justice.

    Drawing on these strengths, LRE is an eclectic and engaging journal that features analysis across key themes in education, including: public goals and policies; pedagogy; curriculum; organization; resources and technology; and institutional effectiveness. Its articles and book reviews are written by experts in education, psychology, sociology, policy studies, philosophy, and other disciplines contributing to education research, and by experienced researcher-practitioners working in the field.

    LRE welcomes relevant articles and book reviews. Please email them to

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    LRE is planning to feature the following subjects: learning in London; academic literacies. Please see publication homepage for deadlines and how to submit articles on these and other subjects.
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