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Expertise and the Adult Learner

A Historical, Psychological, and Methodological Exploration

Authored by: Patricia A. Alexander , P. Karen Murphy , Jonna M. Kulikowich

Handbook of Research on Adult Learning and Development

Print publication date:  November  2008
Online publication date:  November  2008

Print ISBN: 9780805858198
eBook ISBN: 9780203887882
Adobe ISBN: 9781135597405


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Throughout history, whether chronicled in primitive cave drawings, the annals of past cultures or societies, contemporary biographies, or web blogs, humans have been captivated by remarkable performance. Likewise, humans have remained fascinated by those capable of exceptional feats and unparalleled visions—whether the bravery of the unnamed hunters seen on the cave walls of Lascaux, France; the military genius of Alexander the Great; or the astonishing physical prowess of Lance Armstrong. Expertise is a term that has been applied to those who attain the pinnacle of human performance in specific domains or areas of pursuit; from art to athletics or from physics to politics. Experts are, in effect, the paragons that people have celebrated throughout the ages and the models to which they aspire.

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