What is the expertise reversal effect? - The Oxford Review - OR Briefings

What is the expertise reversal effect?

Expertise reversal effect

The expertise reversal effect refers to how novices and experts learn. When novices are learning they don’t have a mental framework or schema about the subject. In other words they don’t understand how everything fits together and relates to each other, or how to critically think about the topic. Experts on the other hand do.

The expertise reversal effect comes from research which shows that novices need step by step instruction, teachers and simple learning tasks with little variability until they know how to think about the topic.

Experts on the other hand learn best from having little teaching/instruction and learning tasks that are much more variable. In other words they reverse the normal learning processes.


Kalyuga, S. (2009). The expertise reversal effect. In Managing Cognitive Load in Adaptive Multimedia Learning (pp. 58-80). IGI Global.

Kalyuga, S. (2007). Expertise reversal effect and its implications for learner-tailored instruction. Educational psychology review, 19(4), 509-539.

Spanjers, I. A., Wouters, P., Van Gog, T., & Van Merrienboer, J. J. (2011). An expertise reversal effect of segmentation in learning from animated worked-out examples. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(1), 46-52.

Likourezos, V., Kalyuga, S., & Sweller, J. (2019). The variability effect: when instructional variability is advantageous. Educational Psychology Review, 31(2), 479-497.

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David Wilkinson

David Wilkinson is the Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Review. He is also acknowledged to be one of the world's leading experts in dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty and developing emotional resilience. David teaches and conducts research at a number of universities including the University of Oxford, Medical Sciences Division, Cardiff University, Oxford Brookes University School of Business and many more. He has worked with many organisations as a consultant and executive coach including Schroders, where he coaches and runs their leadership and management programmes, Royal Mail, Aimia, Hyundai, The RAF, The Pentagon, the governments of the UK, US, Saudi, Oman and the Yemen for example. In 2010 he developed the world's first and only model and programme for developing emotional resilience across entire populations and organisations which has since become known as the Fear to Flow model which is the subject of his next book. In 2012 he drove a 1973 VW across six countries in Southern Africa whilst collecting money for charity and conducting on the ground charity work including developing emotional literature in children and orphans in Africa and a number of other activities. He is the author of The Ambiguity Advanatage: What great leaders are great at, published by Palgrave Macmillian. See more: About: About David Wikipedia: David's Wikipedia Page