The 4 Stages of Skill Acquisition: Stage 1: The Beginner’s Mind – A Newbie Learns Basic Skills
Stage 2: The Experienced Learner – An Expert Becomes Able To Learn More Advanced Skills
Stage 3: The Master Learner – An Expert Has Become Superhumanly Intelligent And Can Learn Anything
Stage 4: The Superhuman – An Expert Has Become Godlike And Can Learn No Knowledge At All
In the first stage, the beginner learns basic skills. For example, he or she may learn how to use a knife.
In this stage, it is not necessary to have any special training or education. However, it helps if there are some basics that one already possesses such as common sense and experience. If the beginner does not possess these things, then they will be unable to acquire them later on.
It is important to note that the novice needs to master certain skills before they can move onto the next stage. These are called “gateways”.
Some examples include:
Basic arithmetic (e.g., addition)
Knowledge of geography (e.g., knowing where a city is located)
Knowledge of history (e.g.
who is the Prime Minister)
This first stage requires much practice and some guidance from an expert. There are no shortcuts.
The best way to master skills is to focus on one at a time, and get help when you need it the most.
The second stage, the experienced learner, occurs when somebody has acquired a set of basic skills. They are able to learn more advanced skills.
However, they are not yet at the level of a master learner. The experienced learner can learn any new skill that one puts their mind to. This is because they have trained their brain through the first stage of skill acquisition.
Some sub-stages of this second stage include:
The experimentalist – This person experiments with everything, and enjoys learning new skills. For example, a teenager might buy a guitar and learn how to play it.
Then, he or she will also try other instruments. They will become a musician. This stage can often be skipped if one has enough external motivation.
The generalist – This person will become good at several different things, but not too good at any of them. For example, they will become a successful “jack of all trades”, but they can never become a master of any.
The focused specialist – This person will focus on one thing, and develop their skills in that direction. They may have many other abilities, but they will lack total expertise in any field.
For example, somebody might learn how to play the guitar so that they can become famous.
The generalist – At this stage, somebody has decided to focus on one skill set. They will become a “jack of all trades”, and learn many different things.
This person is also known as a renaissance man or woman because they have mastered many skills. For example, a child learns how to play multiple instruments, and also learns multiple foreign languages. This is the best way to become a master in one field.
Any person can move on from this second stage. In fact, it is more difficult to stay here.
The tendency to move on to the third stage is strong.
The third stage, the master learner, occurs when a person has become a master at many different skills. It is also called the “Stage of Unconscious Competence”.
The third stage, the master learner, occurs when an experienced learner masters a certain skill. This is different from the experienced learner stage because one must master many skills.
The master learner can learn anything, and they will excel at it. At this point, the person has become so skilled at something that they do it without thinking. Anybody can become a master learner given enough time and practice. For example, a teenager might learn how to play the drums and guitar very well. He or she can, in turn, teach others how to do so. A master learner should also be able to learn skills that are unrelated to each other. This is because the master learner has developed many mental abilities. For example, the master learner will be able to learn a foreign language quickly, and will also be able to retain the language for a long time. They can also solve problems in their sleep.
It is important that one does not become addicted to learning or they may become “addicted” to this stage. If they do not move on, they will be trapped in a world of total unconscious competence.
The fourth stage is called “autonomous learning”. In this stage, a person learns a skill by themselves without any external motivation.
They learn by themselves with a strong desire to learn and grow.
The fifth and final stage is called “integral learning”. This is when a person has learned so many skills that they see the “bigger picture”.
This may lead to a stagnation of learning. They can, for example, learn a foreign language and understand the culture that goes with it. Also, this person can learn many different types of skills and still understand how they are all related. The person is no longer learning many different skills; rather, they are learning the “root of everything”. There may be other stages past this, but as of now, nobody knows what they would be. Because of this, a person in this stage should learn something they have not learned or experienced before. A good example is learning a skill that one would never dream of learning. Another example is learning a complex skill which involves many different skills, such as computer programming.
Immersion is an important part of learning. In fact, a person will never learn a skill completely unless they immerse themselves fully in the culture that goes along with it.
For example, if a person wants to learn how to play the sitar, they must immerse themselves in Indian culture and music before they can become great at the instrument.
Other Types of Learners
There are various other types of learners, each with their own characteristics and examples.
Visual learners learn better by seeing things rather than hearing about them or reading them in a book. A good example of this is a medical doctor reading an x-ray to see if a bone is broken or not rather than just being told by the patient that the bone is broken.
Another example of this is watching the movie “Matrix”
Also, a person does not need any external motivation to learn. If a person is interested in something, then they will learn it.
The person’s mind will automatically want them to learn it. For example, if a person is passionate about learning how to play the piano, then they will have an internal drive that will help them to learn it quickly. In other words, they will not need any external factors to help them learn (such as a piano teacher or lessons). rather than reading the book that the movie is based on.
Visual-spatial learners process information in a visual way and with their sense of space and movement. A good example of this is when one sees an athlete doing something, and they can pick up on how to do it themselves after watching it a few times.
Another example of this would be the way one can navigate through a familiar city by remembering landmarks as opposed to someone who has a harder time navigating by landmarks.
VAK is an acronym used to remember four types of learners. The “V” stands for visual, the “A” stands for auditory, the “K” stands for kinesthetic, and the “I” stands for inter personal (learning through human interaction).
Most people are a combination of the different types of learners. For example, a person might learn most from reading books, but they might also like watching educational TV programs.
Another good example is when one learns a skill by themselves (inter personal) or with others (kinesthetic) and recreating that learned skill (visual-spatial).
The biological process of learning has been seen to be the same in all organisms, whether they are primitive ones such as sponges or complex ones such as human beings. The process begins when sensory receptors pick up an environmental stimuli and sends a signal towards the nervous system.
This process is repeated until finally a response occurs and goes back towards the environment. In other words, it is a “stimulus-response-stimulus” cycle, and this process can be described as a loop.
David Kolb developed a learning style model known as Experiencing and Learning (EXAL) which provides an alternative to the visual, auditory, reading, writing breakdown that was seen previously. EXAL adds three more elements, which are:
EXAL was created on the idea that different individuals would find different elements of Kolb’s previously mentioned styles most engaging. In some cases, the process can be closed and this is know as reflex.
The human brain has been known to have reflexes without us being consciously aware of them; for example, when one touches a hot surface they immediately pull their hand away before even being consciously aware of it.
The brain has been shown to have a complex network of connections that store information, make decisions, and carry out tasks. This “wiring”, or “neural network”
In the EXAL learning cycle, the first step involves the Experience Phase. During this phase, different elements of the style are experienced by an individual.
They will then complete a Unit of Learning during the second phase, which is labelled the Learning Phase. During this phase, the student is able to identify which element of their style they found most engaging. The next step involves the Application Phase, which allows an individual to use elements from each style and create new solutions for old problems. is very flexible and can be changed and molded, just like any other muscle in the body. This theory is called brain plasticity. With practice, people can learn to perform certain tasks or think in different ways that they were unable to do before.
This concept has also been shown to apply to individuals’ learning styles. A person’s style may substantially change over time and with new experiences.
The final phase, which is called the Mastery Phase, allows an individual to repeat the most success elements of their style and improve upon them.
It has long been believed that people either have a visual, auditory, reading/writing, or kinesthetic learning style. However, more research has suggested that people have a tendency to learn in one of these ways rather than a preference.
A teaching method called “branching” has been used in teaching to accommodate different learning styles. Branching is a technique of presenting a subject to a student by starting with the main ideas and then going into sub-topics.
Different students can then “branch” out in different directions depending on what their learning style is. For example, a student who learns best by seeing things can be given the main ideas and then referred to graphics that support what was just taught. A student who learns best by reading can be given the main ideas and then referred to detailed explanations. The student who learns best by hearing can be asked if they want to listen to a tape that gives the main points or have a discussion about the topic.
Research on learning styles primarily focuses on two factors: how people learn and how people interact with technology. This research is done through the fields of Educational Technology, Human-Computer Interaction, and Educational Psychology.
Some learning style theories and models, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Kolb Learning Style Model, have been used for many years in various fields.
In recent years, studies have also been done to see how people learn when using technology. While some of these results are similar to results from traditional learning style theories, many are different.
Sources & references used in this article:
Evidence for processing stages in skill acquisition: a dual-task study by U Eversheim, O Bock – Learning & Memory, 2001 – learnmem.cshlp.org
Structuring the transition from example study to problem solving in cognitive skill acquisition: A cognitive load perspective by A Renkl, RK Atkinson – Educational psychologist, 2003 – Taylor & Francis
The role of examples and rules in the acquisition of a cognitive skill. by SE Dreyfus, HL Dreyfus – 1980 – California Univ Berkeley Operations …
Neuroanatomical and cognitive correlates of adult age differences in acquisition of a perceptual‐motor skill by JR Anderson, JM Fincham… – Journal of experimental …, 1997 – psycnet.apa.org