What Does An Expert Know About A Field That You Don’t?


Wednesday, 8.56pm

Sheffield, U.K

No one becomes an expert in a new career overnight, even if you are coming from another career where you were established and experienced. – Jack Canfield

Do you ever feel that anyone could do what you do – that you’re just marking time until someone comes along and tells you to move on because they’re going to do what you do better than you ever could?

At the same time you’ve probably developed more skill and expertise than you realise.

Quite often, when you look at what’s on the surface all you see is what’s in front of your eyes.

You see people spending time on tasks, looking relaxed or worried, displaying craft skills of one kind or another.

But is there all there is to getting things done – having a task list and improving your skills.

What’s missing from the picture.

What’s missing, it turns out, is everything under the surface – because the thing you don’t see is depth and complexity.

I came across this term on a website by Ian Byrd that’s about teaching gifted and talented students.

Hopefully some of the ideas will work for the rest of us as well.

But first, there’s clearly something you need to know about the idea – it’s got protections around it.

It seems that it’s important to mention that Dr. Sandra Kaplan and Bette Gould created and own the rights to Depth and Complexity – to the prompts, icons and framework and you can find their material here.

So, don’t take any of this commentary to be a view on the actual framework itself.

Instead, it’s a study of Byrd’s content on Kaplan and Gould’s framework, and how these ideas might be useful to us, perhaps in an adapted form in the learning we are doing.

The actual framework has 11 components while Byrd’s commentary is that some of these can be squished together – something that I’ve loosely followed in the image above.

So, what is it that experts in a field get that we don’t?

Let’s take YouTube as an example – if you look at stats it suggests that most people don’t make any money with their content.

But then others do, and the difference appears to be that some run their channels like a business while others put out content and hope for the best.

That’s a big idea right there – run your channel like a business.

And there are a host of essential details that fall out from that big idea – the fact that you should have a theme, a certain standard of production, a schedule and so on.

All the people who do well probably have these elements bottomed out.

And they can talk to you about precisely what they do – they’ve created a shared language about ads and revenues and intros and outros and all the things that go into putting a video together.

If you look closely you’ll see patterns in the way they do things – the way they use lighting, staging – the way they script their material.

And there are rules they follow – no profanity, perhaps to make sure they don’t offend anyone, or perhaps rules on comments.

Clearly some go the other way – and that comes down to the ethics they apply.

Do they believe it’s ok to be a foul talking person who tells the truth.

They can probably see the business from different perspectives – having gone through the pain of starting, the years of producing material while they figured out what they were doing to now, where they have a money making machine that still needs to be fed.

Now, if you’re trying to do what they do, then you are going to have to get better at asking the questions that have been left unsaid and unanswered.

Can you do something, how do you do this other thing – do you have to try it and discover what to do for yourself?

Then there is the issue of reaching across disciplines – not being stuck in ideas of a time and place.

I guess when you get stuck in doing the things you read from a single book – well, people write new books and the ways change and you’re then irrelevant.

So, don’t be that.

Then there is the fact that everything changes – that as Pratchett said, “future pours into the past via the pinch of now”.

When you look at the ideas that Kaplan and Gould came up with you can also see that there’s a lot of stuff there – a lot of stuff that you know that others don’t.

Even if they don’t see it yet.

There are still two challenges, though.

The first is for you to believe in yourself.

And the other is to get others to believe in you.

But that’s a question of marketing.


Karthik Suresh

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