Date of release: Monday, September 23, 2013

Accelerated Expertise: Training for High Proficiency in a Complex WorldIncreasing the speed at which we learn is the theme of a major new book co-authored by a University of Greenwich academic.

Paul Ward, Professor of Psychology in the School of Science, and Head of its Centre for Sports Science & Human Performance, is among the writers to tackle the topic of ‘accelerated learning’. The book examines the state of the science in terms of how people acquire the knowledge and skills that are necessary for performing many key tasks expertly.

The book, Accelerated Expertise: Training for High Proficiency in a Complex World, explores what we know about learning and how this translates to improving performance in a range of occupations and professions. The authors propose a framework for accelerating the attainment of expertise, which could have numerous benefits for the workforce and for the economy. The title might be of particular interest to those working in government, business, industry and throughout the private sector.

Professor Ward is a leading scholar in the study of expert performance under stress, and is internationally known for his studies with elite professionals. Much of his research focuses on understanding the parts of the mind that support skilled performance and its acquisition, especially in relation to people’s ability to make good decisions in lightning-quick time.

He says: “Many real-world tasks are highly complex and dynamic. The demand for learners to acquire the requisite skills and knowledge quickly, in order to perform such tasks effectively, is increasing. Yet much of what we know about how people learn is based on simple laboratory-based studies that fail to capture the complexity of work in naturalistic settings, thus making generalisations difficult.

“Based on current methods, it takes numerous years, and sometimes decades within a career, to become an expert. Hence, the ability to develop methods that could accelerate the attainment of high levels of proficiency, and circumvent the pathway to excellence, would be very valuable indeed. In this book, we lay out a framework for exploring the acceleration of proficiency, and for making learning more adaptive, flexible and resilient to stress.”

His fellow authors are Robert R. Hoffman and Paul J. Feltovich, both Research Scientists at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition; Lia DiBello, CEO and Director of Research at WTRInc; Stephen M. Fiore, Director of the Cognitive Sciences Laboratory at University of Central Florida; and Dee H. Andrews, Senior Research Psychologist with the Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences in Arizona.

In reviewing the title, Douglas Herrman, Editor Emeritus, Cognitive Technology, wrote it was a “very important book”, adding: “Anyone interested in skill development will want to read this for its goldmine of ideas for accelerated learning and facilitated retention.”

Accelerated Expertise: Training for High Proficiency in a Complex World is on sale now. For more details: 

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Story by Public Relations