Kevin R. Harris 1and David W. Eccles 2
In this introductory article for the special issue dedicated to the impact of the work of K. Anders Ericsson, we provide an overview of how the special issue was developed, introduce the specific areas from which there were contributions, and briefly expand upon the themes identified within the special issue. These themes include the following: (a) the undeniable importance/impact of Ericsson’s work, (b) the discussions regarding the operationalization of key terms, (c) calls to move beyond extreme nurturism or nativism, (d) considerations and implications of discussing “variance accounted for” when studying the most elite performance, and (e) the oversimplification of Ericsson’s proposals by the popular press.
Kevin R. Harris 1and David W. Eccles 2
Neil Charness 1
In this article I describe some of the contributions that K. Anders Ericsson has made to the development of experimental cognitive psychology in the context of understanding expert performance. I focus on three facets: use of verbal protocols, design of experimental techniques, particularly those that contrast domain-specific and domain-general capabilities, and long-term working memory theory. I also outline some of the challenges that remain for those approaches. In reviewing those contributions, I also allude to how Ericsson’s work influenced my own research.
William C. McGaghie 1, Diane B. Wayne 1,2, Jeffrey H. Barsuk 1,2, and S. Barry Issenberg 3
K. Anders Ericsson was a scholarly giant who not only left an authoritative legacy in contemporary psychology but also forever impacted medical education and patient care. His groundbreaking work on deliberate practice has inspired scientists and medical educators to study and improve professional expertise in service of science and public welfare. This article celebrates Ericsson’s scholarship in three categories. First, by acknowledging its key contributions to theory and medical education engineering and science. Second, by documenting Ericsson’s research impact on medical education from empirical findings, its influence on mastery learning research and development by our group and other scholars, and by shaping new directions for medical learning and teaching. Third, the article addresses the road ahead in medical education that includes scholarly arguments and practical barriers revealed by Ericsson’s research and writing. We conclude with a short reflection about Anders Ericsson’s work, life, and gifts of mentorship.
K. Anders Ericsson, Deliberate Practice, and Sport: Contributions, Collaborations, and Controversies
Bradley W. Young 1, David W. Eccles 2, A. Mark Williams 3, and Joseph Baker 4
In this review paper, we reflect on the work of K. Anders Ericsson and how his Deliberate Practice Framework (DPF: Ericsson et al., 1993) has particularly impacted the field of sport expertise and athlete development. We review the major tenets of the framework, including areas where there is indisputable evidence for the value of deliberate practice. We address the state of findings attesting to the mechanisms underpinning the expert advantage and their relevance to the DPF, and consider the growth in research addressing the motivational, effort and resource constraints of the framework. We document the evolving facets of, and incongruencies in, research, as well as lively debates around the operationalization of deliberate practice, whether deliberate practice is sufficient to account for sport expertise, and the role of individual differences and heritable qualities. Altogether, we acknowledge the importance and provocative nature of the DPF, recognizing it as a meta-framework that can continue to inform dialogue in the fields of skill acquisition, talent development and coaching, and notably, mark the considerable contributions made to our field by K. Anders Ericsson.
Tiffany M. Bisbey 1, Allison M. Traylor 1, and Eduardo Salas 1
Anders Ericsson’s seminal research on expert performance spurred a number of streams of research across psychological disciplines. Though his work was primarily focused on expert individual performance, there has been increasing interest over the past several decades on the factors underlying expert teamwork. This paper advances eight principles of expert team performance based on decades of team science research: shared mental models, learning and adaptation, role clarity, shared vision, dynamic leadership, psychological safety, cooperation and coordination, and resilience. In addition, we review a number of team development interventions aimed at building team expertise including team training, simulation, coaching, and debriefing. Accordingly, this paper is divided into three sections addressing (1) how expert teams perform, (2) interventions to develop expert team performance, and (3) a reflection on the role Anders Ericsson’s work has played in team science, including a personal reflection from Eduardo Salas on deliberate and guided practice.
Training Derived from Expert Performers: The Extractable Components of Deliberate Practice and the Expert Performance Approach
Kevin R. Harris 1and David W. Eccles 2
The work of K. Anders Ericsson had a great impact on many domains, as illustrated in the current special issue of the Journal of Expertise. In this article, we describe the impact that Ericsson’s work had on training development, specifically deriving training based on the study of expert performers. We first review the rationale for deriving training based upon expert performers. We then provide an overview of how to derive the training, along with examples of the techniques’ success. We then identify remaining issues and questions for further consideration by scholars moving forward in the in this area. The issues include perceptions that (a) advocates for using deliberate practice are taking an extreme view, and (b) deliberate practice activities are too rigid and drill-like to be widely applicable. The questions for consideration are as follows: (a) What combination of screening, along with application of practice and resources, is needed to maximize performance? (b) Is it possible to separate early involvement from “natural” abilities as the source of observed performance differences? (c) Will widespread implementation be possible given resource needs and funding? and (d) What percentage of the general population is interested in maximizing potential? Finally, we conclude with a personal reflection of working with Anders.
Kyle Harwell 1and Daniel Southwick 2
It has been three decades since K. Anders Ericsson (Ericsson & Smith, 1991) proposed the expert performance approach as a general theoretical and methodological framework for studying the development of expert-level performance. Drawing on Ericsson’s most recent writing, this review corrects four misconceptions about the expert performance approach that have persisted in both the popular and scientific literatures on expertise: (1) anyone can become an expert by putting in 10,000 hours of any kind of practice, (2) the expert performance approach is exclusively concerned with deliberate practice, (3) expert performers can be identified based on reputation or experience, and (4) Ericsson’s claims require that a majority of the variance in performance is explained by deliberate practice. We conclude by making the case for integrating aspects of the expert performance approach into broader learning contexts, including educational and occupational environments. Such in situ experiments will mark the transition of expertise research from the basic science of describing exceptional performance to the applied science of maximizing human potential.
Pushing the Envelope: Implications of the Special Issue on the Impact of the Work of K. Anders Ericsson for Future Research and Application in the Area of Expertise and Expert Performance
David W. Eccles 1and Kevin R. Harris 2
The mission of this concluding paper of the special issue on the impact of the work of K. Anders Ericsson is to consider how we can “push the envelope” in relation to research and application in the area of expertise and expert performance. To this end, we present an integration of some of the points made in the special issue papers and interpret these in the light of our own understanding of research and practice in relation to expert performance. The paper begins with reflections on our own personal perspectives on Ericsson and his work and continues with a consideration of the influence of Ericsson’s work in terms of scholarship and in the public domain. The paper then follows with two considerations about how we might now attempt to advance research and two considerations about how we might advance application, regarding the work of Anders Ericsson.