The 4 stages of learning

Again, I owe this one to Sedley Burger way back in 1983. There are four stages of learning -

Unconciously Incompetent. This is when you don't even know that you don't know. Like a baby who doesn't know that it can't drive a car. In this state, you won't ask questions to add to your knowledge because you wouldn't even know what questions to ask. You need to become aware of your lack of knowledge before you can move beyond this level. Often it is someone else who brings this to your attention. It happens more often than you may think. Like when you switch from a Blackberry to a Samsung Galaxy for instance. Since you don't know what the Galaxy can do, you can't ask how to do it.

Conciously incompetent. Continuing with the Galaxy story, someone might say Hey! Did you know you can use your smartphone as a Wi-Fi hotspot? Now you know that you don't know. That's a good start, because now you can start to find out how.

Conciously competent Now you get someone to teach you. You may or may not take notes, but every time you do it, you have to think what comes next, first this, then this, then that etc. (Remember your driving lessons?). You can do it, but you have to think about what you're doing.

Unconciously competent You've done it so many times that you don't even think any more, it just gets done. Driving a car is the best example - you just do it. After a few weeks of using your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot, you will probably look back and think "Why was it such an issue, it's so simple"

So what can you do with this useless piece of information? I'm not sure really, I just like it that's all!


South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. Designation CA(SA)  Internationally Accredited Financial MediatorsIndependent Regulatory Board for Auditors. Designation RA<Engineering Council of South Africa. Designation Pr(Eng) Member of MENSA, the High IQ Society




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