Use of expertise by beginning experts solving wicked problems

Jan Van Bruggen, Paul A. Kirschner, Thom Duffy, Chad Carr, Wim Jochems

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    In this paper we study how groups of beginning experts solve a type of problem that has been referred to as ‘wicked’ or ‘social science problem’. An example of such a problem is that of school drop-out, which can be defined as a school and curriculum problem, a socio-economic problem, a cultural problem, a behavioral problem, et cetera. Mono-disciplinary teams of beginning experts in different fields addressed the problem of advising the State Board of Governors on measures to reduce school drop-out. One group demonstrated expert-like behavior in solving the problem. The other groups concentrated on particular aspects of the problem and its proposed solution whilst neglecting other aspects. Their approach contained a mixture of (beginning) expert and novice behavior, demonstrating that the expert-novice continuum is not clear-cut for these types of problem. The use of external representations that signal which aspects of the problem solving process need additional effort is discussed as a promising support, in particular to inter-disciplinary teams.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalDefault journal
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2006


    • problem solving
    • expertise


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