kei’s notes

Mastery/expertise vs performance

There are differences between passive information consumption and active retention.

There are also differences between merely reciting facts and skilfully recalling them out & applying them smartly.

Mastery/expertise ≠ good performance of what is taught. To improve on what we do, we should focus on how to aptly mobilise our knowledge, not strictly following instructions.

  • Mastery requires ‘embodied experience’ and flexible application of internalised knowledge (on the right context at the right time.
    • This is only acquirable through prologned, systematic training.
  • In relation to creativity, this ‘mastery’ also works similarly.
    ==> [Flexible framework is required for creative work]
  • Sticking to rules (and planning) only makes us good performer/executor according to what is given/planned.
    • To a certain extent, it is a sign of lack of confidence because following a standardised manual provides us a ‘safe’ way to perform to get to a desired, promised result (Ahrens).
    • ‘Example of mastery/expertise vs perfomance on CPR paramedics. Showing the nuance between blindly sticking to rules and planning and flexibly applying internalised knowledge to real-life situations.’ (Ahrens).
    • ==> Recognition, not recall @ [Heuristics for interaction design]

Last update: 2021-02-18


Ahrens, Sönke. [How To Take Smart Notes]: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking – for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers. Sönke Ahrens, 2017, ch. 9.

Mastery/expertise vs performance