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Expertise and Expert Performance-based Training (ExPerT) in Complex Domains
Paul Ward, Joel Suss and Itay Basevitch

The aim of this article is to provide an overview of research on expertise and training in complex domains. First, we present a summary of the origins of the research on expertise and the development of current theory in expert performance. Then we present a synopsis of the literature on expert performance in sport and perceptual-cognitive skills training. We expand on this section by summarizing some of the literature on expert performance and training in other complex domains, such as law enforcement, nursing, and the military. In each section, we examine the evidence-based approaches to training that have been developed across domains. The research suggests that experts develop superior anticipation, situational assessment and decision making skills and strategies that are supported by cognitive representations consistent with the acquisition of long-term working memory skill. We argue that the perceptual-cognitive strategies of experts and the way in which they were acquired may be an informative basis for training future experts. This has been termed an evidence-based approach to training. We refer to this approach here as the Expert Performance-based Training (ExPerT) method. Such training is typically based on a situation-specific expert model, is dynamic and context-sensitive, and can be objectively validated with known outcomes. Evidence-based training of this type mimics the real-world demands faced by individuals within the domain, provides opportunities for deliberate practice on challenging and low frequency cases, and has been shown to contribute to the development of the type of skills and representations that underpin expert performance in complex domains.

Keywords: Perceptual-cognitive skill; Representative task; Long term working memory; Expert model; Situation-specific training.

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