Effective Knowledge Transder

May Lyn, Tan

Head of Academic Development

Singapore Institute of Management

While knowledge transfer can be challenging, it also can be extremely rewarding for both expert and learners when done successfully. In this episode, we invited MayLyn Tan, the Head of Academic Development for the Singapore Institute Management to share her views and experiences in supporting industry experts in effective transfer of expertise.

Podcast Episode Highlights

The Concept of Good Teaching

Everyone has an opinion on what constitutes good teaching. There is no universal definition on what is a desirable learning outcome. Each of us construct our own metric to define what is good teaching that is based on our background, culture, environment and even our historical relationships with past teachers. In an academic setting, helping students to be ready for the workforce is not immediately tangible. Also to a certain extent, higher education has shielded the students from the expectations of the industry. With this awareness, there must be a balance between imparting content and helping the learners to be independent and be proficient upon completion.

The challenges faced in transferring expertise

People become experts in their field through their effort in practice and solving problems. Experts will automatically associate academic theory with their experiences and may miss out in communicating the connection of the textbook knowledge with their experiences. When expert impart their knowledge to their student, experts tend to forget that the students do not have the contextual knowledge and experiences of the experts. As such, in the transferring of knowledge from experts to students, there is a high chance that pertinent information will be left out.  
When students are unable to take the knowledge and map it to the big picture, they will likely memorise the received knowledge and will not be able to effectively use the knowledge in different situations. Another challenge is the Dunning-Kruger Effect, where the poorest performers are least aware of their incompetence. Poor performers or learners fail to learn from their mistakes and wrongly assume what is learned within the classroom is enough to become an expert. This gives students an illusion of their level of capability.

Assessing the effectiveness of the expert’s teaching techniques

Here are some ways in which an expert can assess the effectiveness of their teachings:
  • Understand the student readiness by having a good rapport
  • Observe other peers who are teaching similar subjects and provide reciprocal feedback
  • Be open to experimentation
  • Document the outcome of each experimentation and compare with student feedback

How does SIM support the faculty members

  • Hold workshops on different teaching methodologies
  • Provide faculty members a safe space to experiment different teaching methodologies
  • Have the lecturers share success stories with each other and identify what works best
  • Introducing on-demand and mobile learning components and in bite-size courses

Experts need to adopt a certain mindset and attitude to ensure effective transfer of expertise. Here are some tips:

  • Look at the long-term goals, whether what they are doing has an impact on the students/learners
  • Recall when they were a beginner themselves, how they struggled, and reach their expert stage. Ask yourself, in what ways can they short cut this process for their learners?
  • Share about how they learn this new skills with their learners

Say hello!

If you’d like to get in touch with May Lyn Tan, you can look for her via:

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