The Curse of Knowledge

Experts sometimes do not have good insights into what support is required by beginners. It’s natural when you think about it. Experts are experts because they’ve been working in a particular space for a long time. Think of something you can do extremely well. Can you remember what it was really like when you knew virtually nothing about it? If you can, you’re in the minority.

This has been confirmed by the research of Elizabeth Newton, whose 1990 PhD thesis focused on this issue (Newton, 1990), and by science education researcher Carl Wieman (Wieman, 2007).

One of the key roles of a learning designer is to bridge the gap between subject experts’ expectations and learners’ realities.

Learning designers create a bridge between subject experts and learners.

Our learning designers use their understanding of how to manage learners’ cognitive load so they don’t get overwhelmed, making it easy for learners to develop skills and understanding with confidence.


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