Development of Expertise

An Investment in Knowledge

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin


An excerpt from How To Become The Best at Anything, Chapter 8, Deliberate Practice and Learning


“When you are trying to learn something new or you are teaching someone something new, it can be a very daunting task. It is difficult because learning something new is not easy, but it can be made easier if you understand how learning works.

Learning can be divided into four basic parts: concepts (definitions and examples), processes (how it works sequences), principles (cause and effect relationships), and productions (procedures/classifications).”



“Here’s a common example of a concept: a chair. You can look at one and tell right away that it is a chair. A chair can have four legs, three legs, two legs, one leg, or no legs. A chair can have more than four legs. Your memory stores a definition and examples of chairs. You have learned the concept of a chair. To learn a new concept, you need a definition and examples of the concept.

Learning a concept sounds easy, and it is. However, you can run into problems when you have a lot of new concepts to learn in a short amount of time. In a typical high school biology class, a student will be given more vocabulary to learn (concepts) than in an average first-year high school foreign language class. I taught high school biology and many of my students struggled with the vocabulary. I would help them learn the new concepts by presenting them in different ways. They would first be exposed to the new concepts in their homework. Then in a lab, then in an exercise, and then in group work that would push them to apply the concepts in different ways and would show them how the concepts fit in with processes, principles, and productions.”


Read more about learning in How To Become The Best at Anything