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The B-Side of the Dunning-Kruger Effect

The truly talented often underestimate how long it takes beginners to learn

By this point, we all know about the Dunning-Kruger Effect (DKE), yes? That people who don't know much about something tend to overestimate how much they know about it. A friend of mine who's a professional photographer has described this for decades as the "You got one lesson in you" effect. You go home having taken one hour of instruction in photography and, at the next family gathering, you're posting people and talking about lighting and shutter speeds as if you're Annie Leibovitz.

But there's a flip side to the D-KE. Which is that people who know something very well tend to underestimate how hard it is for beginners to get better. This is especially true for experts who have so thoroughly absorbed principles from earlier stages of mastery that they don't even understand them as learned behaviors. They're just part of the system itself.

You see this in classrooms all the time. I've had to watch out for it myself as a teacher. You jump from a basic topic to something at an intermediate level and watch the students' faces go into blank-stare mode, because they don't see the connection. It's obvious to you, of course. You've been soaking in it for years. You're not sure why they don't see it.

Please select this link to read the complete blog post from LinkedIn.

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