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4 Ways to Transform Your Training Program with Expert Mental Models

By Douglas Seifert, PhD on Nov 17, 2017 11:18:34 AM


How do we know what we know? It’s because we construct mental models that interrelate information in a sensible way, that we can test and refine with our experience. Learning requires that we assemble a new mental model, or integrate it into one we already have. These models can be completely wrong, flawed, suboptimal; or emulate the mental models of experts. Yikes! It seems we should care about mental models!

The mental models a learner constructs can directly impact the rate at which they achieve optimal performance, if at all. Let’s dive in...

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Cognitive Flexibility: How to Save Human Kind Through More Effective Skill Acquisition

By Douglas Seifert, PhD on Sep 20, 2017 9:00:00 AM


Humans are still the best pattern-recognition machines on the planet! (At least for now.) Yes, we have suffered losses to man-made machine, in Jeopardy, chess, and recently the game Go. But we recognize complex patterns in everyday life and transform them into actionable steps, in ways that machines cannot. What’s our secret? Cognitive Flexibility. This trait allows us to diagnose, design, and problem-solve in highly unstructured situations where “rules” do not yet exist.

So, if we humans are so good at this cognitive flexibility thing, how can we use it to develop more effective skill acquisition programs?


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Make Decisions Like an Expert with the Help of Cognitive Apprenticeship

By Douglas Seifert, PhD on Sep 14, 2017 9:00:00 AM


Think for a moment about someone you know that is an expert at something. They could be great at their job, defusing conflicts, or managing their health. Now think about how they do it, and how you would build a program to help others achieve better performance in that area. Pretty challenging, right? Why is it so hard?


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Get Real! How Experiential Realism Can Transform Your Skill Acquisition Program

By Douglas Seifert, PhD on Sep 8, 2017 9:10:21 AM


Does realism really matter in a skill acquisition program? The short answer is... yes.

Let’s start by examining two cognitive science concepts that provide the underpinnings for why experiential realism can improve your skill acquisition programs.


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How to Use Cognitive Science to Move Beyond Traditional Learning

By Douglas Seifert, PhD on Sep 1, 2017 3:48:35 PM


Why do so many e-learning programs focus on acquiring knowledge and then afterwards, expect learners to use it in practical situations on their own? That’s like offering a course on flying a plane and then expecting learners to climb into a plane and take off.

What’s missing? Well, it’s an enormously important part of the learning process: skill acquisition. We need to create programs that help learners apply knowledge in fluid, real-world situations, and make more optimal decisions. This skill-building process – the flight simulator – is the critical part!

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