Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Posted by Bobby Beck at 3:22 PM
Stages of learning and growth

I've always loved this model for learning. This model has worked really well for me in all areas of learning and growth.

The model has four steps:

Step 1: Unconscious Incompetence: In this stage we have no clue that we do "X" or want to chance "Y". Once we learn, either from someone giving us important feedback (X), or reading a book and wanting to make a new change (Y), that there is something we want to change, we immediately move to step 2.

Step 2: Conscious Incompetence: In this stage we still break the habit, and/or do the very thing we are trying to change. The difference here is that, most often right after we've done it, we realize, "whoops, I just did that 'thing' again." This step can continue forever or as long as it takes before the proper motivation comes to really embrace the change.

Step 3: Conscious Competence: Once you can act out the new habit or behavior it often feels forced or contrived. Anything new typically does feel this way. Once you live in this space long enough the conscious part begins to become unconscious and we move to the final step.

Step 4: Unconscious Competence: In this stage we are the wise Buddhas who live the very thing we sought out to accomplish. Or, in other words, act the new habit or behavior from an inner, sincere place.

Getting to unconscious competence IS possible and, once the model is embraced, I've found that it gets easier and faster to do. The model itself perpetuates learning!

I share this model because it serves as a foundation for how I approach learning. I get asked a lot how I learn things so quickly and I've come to develop my own philosophy that stems from this model. That is "reduce the suck factor" or, how to reduce the amount of time spent in "step 2". I'll let this first bit set in here and will post another day about things I do to reduce time spent in "step 2." Until then, I'd love to hear your thoughts about this model for learning. I hope you enjoy!