The Four Stages of Learning
This is the name given to a theory developed by Noel Burch at Gordon Training International in California in the 1970s.
Stage 1 – Subconscious Incompetence
In this stage, you are unaware of your incompetence so, in other words, you don’t know that you don’t know. You may be completely unaware or you may believe that the knowledge or skill you don’t have is something you don’t need; you’re unaware of the positive benefits it could bring into your life. It only becomes possible to progress beyond this stage when you recognize for yourself that there’s something you don’t know and realize the benefits of changing your status through learning.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.” – Charles Darwin.
Stage 2 – Conscious Incompetence
In this stage, you haven’t acquired the new knowledge or skill but you recognize the benefits of acquiring it. It’s having an understanding of the benefits that not only allows you to begin the learning process, but also to accept the inevitable process of trial and error you’re likely to go through on the way to acquiring it.
Stage 3 – Conscious Competence
In this stage, you have gained the new knowledge or earned the new skill but applying or practicing it takes concentrated effort; you’re effectively still learning and embedding the new pattern or “setting the stone” through careful and deliberate repetition.
Stage 4 – Subconscious Competence
In this stage, the new knowledge or skill can be applied without consciously thinking about it and the learned pattern is now so firmly embedded that it can be demonstrated effortlessly. Any knowledge or skill you have acquired to the level of subconscious competence id something that feels like second nature to you.
Knowledge in this sense is power.