As she said, if you give the same problem to a novice and an expert and ask them to think out loud, you will see a completely different intellectual structure to the approach. For an introductory mechanics problem, for instance, a student will say things like “oh, it’s an inclined plane. I should think about which forces are involved. Wait, is there friction? What about the normal force? What axes should I choose? Oh no, this is a complicated one — there’s gravity and a spring as well.” And so on. An expert will say something like: ‘Hmm, that’s probably best done by a conservation of energy analysis. Ok, which potential energies do I have to track …” And so on. Neither approach misses the point, but the latter constrains you, and focuses you much faster.
04 March 2008
The difference between students and experts in solving physics problems
Here's an interesting remark I came across in the blog Confused at a higher level: