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Laura Giles, LCSW

Four Stages of Learning

Noel Burch identified the four stages of learning in the 1970s. Knowing these stages can really help you make accurate assessments of your own level of skill. They can also help you see areas that need improvement. Before I get into that, let’s look at the stages of learning. Unconscious Incompetence  – this is the “ignorance is bliss” stage. You don’t know what you don’t know. This can make you feel that there is nothing new to know or perhaps dismiss the value of learning something. Conscious Incompetence – this is the stage where the person understands that skill is lacking. He knows that learning it is useful. He just doesn’t have the ability to execute it very well. Conscious Competence – at this stage, the person is able to execute the skill with thought and concentration. Unconscious Competence –...

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