Journal of Current Research in Scientific Medicine

: 2018  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 124--125

Expertise reversal effect: What every faculty need to know while designing a lecture?

V Dinesh Kumar 
 Department of Anatomy, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
V Dinesh Kumar
Department of Anatomy, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry

How to cite this article:
Kumar V D. Expertise reversal effect: What every faculty need to know while designing a lecture?.J Curr Res Sci Med 2018;4:124-125

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Kumar V D. Expertise reversal effect: What every faculty need to know while designing a lecture?. J Curr Res Sci Med [serial online] 2018 [cited 2021 Apr 18 ];4:124-125
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Dear Sir,

With the advent of multimedia learning resources, we could witness that most, if not all, faculty use them for their lectures. These presentations involve animations and videos involving the principles of dynamic visualization.[1] However, differences exist in the cognitive abilities among students belonging to different years of medical education. For example, information overload posed in a blended learning session might lead to uncertainty in the 1st year medical students (novice learners) as they possess limited cognitive abilities to deal with information from different sources when compared to a final year student. Thus, the same multimedia presentation tends to have different effect according to the levels of expertise.

Kalyuga et al.[2] proposed the concept of “expertise reversal effect” whereby novice learners could learn better from static visualizations while advanced learners gained better from dynamic visualizations. Literature[3] on the nature of expertise suggests that advanced learners in addition to declarative knowledge tend to develop rich mental models which enable them to recognize cues and patterns often invisible to the eyes of novice learners. In addition, fast paced, information overloaded multimedia presentations affect the novice learners by a principle called “butterfly defect”[4] as they do not afford sufficient time to self-explain the concepts. From the above statements, we could make out that to provide an optimized cognitive load, appropriate instructional support should be provided to novice learners. To exemplify, a clinician who is invited to deliver a lecture on the clinical implications of a particular topic for the 1st year medical students often fails to transfer the intended knowledge unless he/she matches the dynamics of the instruction appropriately.

In an interesting experiment,[5] both low-experience and high-experience learners were delivered with presentations containing words and pictures simultaneously. It was found that reinforcing learning content did not enhance problem-solving transfer for high-experience learners but did so for low-experience learners, who were lacking the acquired schemas. A study[6] based on functional magnetic resonance imaging suggests that while solving a problem, neural areas involved in information processing differs between novice and advanced learners. Novice learners had activated the left hemisphere whereas, expert learners had activated the right. It can be explained by the fact that novices make required decisions based on basic causal explanations and experts based on the comparison between the exemplars.

How this concept could be useful in day to day lectures? Every medical teacher has their own style of designing a presentation. Some try to reinforce concepts using multiple formats, and some rely completely on self-directed learning from the inception onward. From the above discussion, we could infer that the brain dynamics of the 1st -year student is altogether different from that of a final year student. Inexperienced learners benefit most from lectures that placed a heavy emphasis on guidance and experienced learners find guidance to be redundant as they interfere with the working memory.[2] In other words, novices fail to decontextualize the learning process because of the lack of ability to make connections with the previously learned information.[7] Many a times, it remains enigmatic for a teacher to perceive why a particular class did not work out well and what makes the students imbibe better from another lecture.

From the instructional design perspective, using a lot of texts and additional information induce a cognitive conflict by jamming the working memory of a final year student. At the same time, complete avoidance of texts and adhering to abstract concepts might leave the 1st year student in dismay. It is salient for the teachers to design their class considering activation of prior knowledge, level of expertise of learner and cognitive load imposed by the presentation (put together as “teaching expertise”) and a “one size fit for all” approach should be avoided. I hope that “expertise reversal concept” is thus, a powerful concept in large group teaching by explaining the boundary conditions of instructions and creating a better learning environment.

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