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Learning outcomes and the development of expertise

John Tagg (Professor of English, Palomar College, San Marcos, California, USA.)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 22 May 2007




The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the visibility of learning outcomes within an academic institution permits the re‐imagining of general education as the conscious development in students of expertise that is more general than and perhaps more important than the specific outcomes of any major.


The study of expertise shows that it is a dynamic state; in any field of endeavor, experts learn differently than non‐experts. Likewise the study of students shows similar differences. Consciously developing the ability to learn well contributes greatly to becoming an expert in a specialized field.


The paper finds that explicitly attending to the progressive development of students' abilities to learn, and the application of those abilities in majors, creates a different model for general education.


Enabling explicit institutional attention to learning outcomes changes the assumed context for general education and opens up new possibilities.



Tagg, J. (2007), "Learning outcomes and the development of expertise", On the Horizon, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 89-98.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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