Formal versus Situational Models of Expert Decision-Making.
Final rept. 1 Apr 79-31 Mar 81,
CALIFORNIA UNIV BERKELEY OPERATIONS RESEARCH CENTER
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After studying the skill acquisition process of pilots, automobile drivers, nurses, chess players, musicians, foreign language learners, and business managers, we have constructed a five-stage model describing the development of their skills. Briefly, performers at the first stage of development novices learn to context-free features and to use strict rules to determine actions. As they accumulate enough experience to become advanced beginners, performers identify, and relate by rule, features of the situation which are no longer context-free but are recognized as similar to previously experienced features. At both of these stages, the performer treats all feature as equally important. At the third level of skill, competence, the performer learns to organize a situation by consciously choosing a goal. The choice of a goal entails that different features have different degrees of importance, thereby establishing a perspective. Decisions are chosen which further goals. After yet more experience with many concrete situation, a very important transformation occurs. On the basis of expectations and immediately preceding experience, whole situations present themselves to a perficient performer with only their salient features manifest. No longer does the performer consciously select a perspective from among alternatives. The performer chooses an action on the basis of rules operation over salient features of the manifest perspective. Finally, the expert performer has somehow stored such a wealth of experience that the appropriate action simply springs to mind.
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