Developing Expertise with Objective Knowledge: Motive Generators and Productive Practice

  • Luc P. BeaudoinEmail author
Part of the Cognitive Systems Monographs book series (COSMOS, volume 22)


Experts seek to derive manifold benefits from objective knowledge. Viewed as progressive problem solvers (Bereiter and Scardamalia 1993), they are not immune to psychological and practical challenges to learning in depth, particularly given demands for breadth and a lack of cognitive productivity tools. What mental changes occur when one understands deeply and develops new skills, new attitudes and implicit knowledge? With a few scenarios, I propose that deep understanding of conceptual artifacts, in the sense of Bereiter (2002), establishes and configures diverse motive generators that enable the valenced detection of gaps of understanding, cognitive infelicities and opportunities (cognitive itches). This proposal, derived from a designer-based approach to motivation (Sloman 1987; Beaudoin and Sloman 1993), is significantly different from how motivation is typically treated in psychology. It raises many questions about how motivational mechanisms develop and operate in the propensities of expertise. I suggest that experts facing great cognitive productivity demands can benefit from productive practice.


Cognitive itch Cognitive zest Expertise Motive generators Productive practice Progressive problem-solving Transfer of learning 



Thank you to Jeremy Wyatt for the initiative and all the effort in organizing this important event in the history of cognitive science. Thank you to Carl Bereiter, Alissa Ehrenkranz, Robert Hoffman, Claude Lamontagne, Carrie Spencer, Phil Winne and Carol Woodworth for their feedback.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Simon Fraser University and CogZestBurnabyCanada

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