Learning Expertise in Engineering Design Work: Creating Space for Experts to Make Mistakes

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Book Chapter

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experts, expertise, learning, design work, engineers, organizational communication, teams, human-centered design

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This chapter discusses expertise in an engineering space both by providing an extended example of a global multidisciplinary engineering design team and by focusing on project-based design both as practice in learning and an employment context. Drawing from organizational communication, professional communication, and human-centered design, we provide a three-pronged framing of expertise that links the communicative constitution of expertise in project-based work, professional development of normative understandings through texts, and engineering design expertise formation and enrichment. This framing enables scholars and practitioners to converse about the dialogic tensions and possibilities that surface when attention is centered on particular discourses and materialities within and between these frames. Taken together, we propose that expertise “becomes” through and transcending these three processes within design that is team-based, multidisciplinary, and community-embedded. This chapter contributes to understandings of the tensions, ambiguities, and ambivalences around experts, expertise, and accomplishment of new knowledge.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Expertise, Communication, and Organizing, p. 168-188