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Issue #21 - The Four Stages of Competence 💡

This week we're learning a model that's about learning! 😉
Mental Models Weekly
Issue #21 - The Four Stages of Competence 💡
By Mental Models Weekly • Issue #21 • View online
This week we’re learning a model that’s about learning! 😉

What are the Four Stages of Competence?
The origins of this model are a little hard to pin down, a few different versions of it have been used since the 60’s. Here’s a summary of the four stages from a good version:
1. Unconscious incompetence
You’re in the dark… 🌌
 You are not even aware there is something to be learned
If you’re stimulated or triggered, you’ll move to the next step.
2. Conscious incompetence
You know you can’t do it… 🌃
 You are aware there is something to be learned
If you do enough learning/practice, you’ll move to the next step.
3. Conscious competence
You can finally do it! 🌄
 You learn the skill, concepts, and procedures, and can apply what you learned with mistakes and omissions. (It might be clunky - but you can do it).
If you practice even more, you might just move to the next step.
4. Unconscious competence
It’s second nature to you! 🌅
 You can perform well without thinking about it.
There’s a funny thing about reaching unconscious competence. Have you ever noticed when you’ve become really competent at something, it becomes difficult to remember how you could every have been incompetent?
This model is useful to consider in terms of your own learning and development in particular areas, but also potentially with others - as a parent or leader of any kind. Keep it in mind as you go about your week! 🧠
Photo: Regina
Photo: Regina
Want to go deeper?
🔖 The Johari window is an interesting related idea.
🗞️ Do you remember the unknown unknowns of Issue #12? This model has some crossover with that one, revisit it here!
Got comments?
Just reply email 📧 or tweet me 🐦@juliaclavien - I love hearing from you!
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