Publication Details

Debatin, T., Hopp, M., Vialle, W. & Ziegler, A. (2015). Why experts can do what they do: the effects of exogenous resources on the Domain Impact Level of Activities (DILA). Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling, 57 (1), 94-110.


In many domains, it is estimated that approximately 10,000 hours of planned learning activities are required to reach an expert level of performance. However, this poses a challenge for learners to balance such extensive learning times with the demands of everyday life. In our study we focused on activities in the domain of chess. We hypothesized that chess-related activities could be better integrated in an individual's life if exogenous resources - specified in the educational capital approach (Ziegler & Baker, 2013) - are sufficiently available. In order to test this hypothesis we introduced the concept of the Domain Impact Level of Activities (DILA), that is, the degree to which a learner's activities are influenced by a certain domain. As expected, we found that the more exogenous resources (educational capital) chess players had at their disposal, the higher was their DILA in regard to social and everyday activities. Concerning social activities, we also found a direct effect of playing time hours and a small indirect effect of educational capital on the DILA via playing time hours. In the model predicting the DILA of everyday activities, these effects were not found. It was concluded that the availability of educational capital facilitates the integration of domain-related activities in a learner's life.