There are four stages in learning a given subject of which I would highlight briefly:
1. Unconscious incompetence: This is a point where you have no idea that you don’t even have the slightest clue that you don’t know something. At this stage, you’re not even aware that you don’t know. For example, what is my mother’s maiden name?
2. Conscious incompetence: At this stage, you are aware that you don’t know a subject matter. So, if you considered the previous question, then you must have realized that you don’t know my mother’s maiden name – quite frankly, I don’t see how you could have know it.
3. Conscious competence: If you then decide to ask about my mother’s maiden name – don’t even bother, because you’re not getting an answer – or any other subject matter for example, you move to the third stage of learning. You might feel that this should be the end, but the fact remains that you know that answer because you were thinking of it. Let’s say for example you’re about to write a test that would ask you what the four stages of learning are from this article, by the time you’re done reading this, you’re likely to consciously keep in your mind these four stages of learning so that you can pass the test.
4. Unconscious competence: This stage doesn’t require any active thought on the subject in consideration. It is a stage of ‘badness’. Okay, real quick, what’s the colour of your gate? (Hey! I saw you roll your eyes, you didn’t remember) Let’s try another, what’s your shoe size? How about the name of your best friend – if you have one. So, I’m sure you get the gig. It’s knowing something without thinking about it. Last one, what’s your mother’s maiden name? No, really, what is it? I’ll like to know… lol!
This theory is attributed to the American Psychologist, Abraham Harold Maslow.
Yours with a quill,
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