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date: 24 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Weather forecasting is a highly technical domain, relying on many kinds of technologies and many kinds of data. This chapter summarizes four research programs ranging from organizational to individual analyses to provide unique, complementary insights about expertise. Forecaster learning was highly dependent on the forecasters’ context, and whether they gained expertise depended on having a strong personal identity as a forecaster. How forecasters coped with risk and uncertainty suggests expertise is not just a deeper causative understanding, but an ability to provide an accurate forecast that serves users well. Novice forecasters employ rule-based knowledge, while experts employ a fluid and flexible application of knowledge. Expert forecasters have extensive, complex knowledge about each type of weather process they forecast, a knowledge that may be lost if not captured and passed on to the next generation. This empirical work on professional activity in context has the potential to invigorate studies of expertise.

Keywords: on-the-job learning, proficiency scaling, naturalistic decision making, ethnography, critical decision method, concept maps, sociotechnical systems, mentoring, mental model, knowledge production

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