Learning is defined as the process of acquiring new skills or competences. The step from being incompetent to being experts in some skill or knowledge.
By ability we mean learning to say mom, riding a bike and speaking languages. Obviously, there are more complex skills than others. This complexity is given by the number of concepts and their links, the structure of concepts, which are necessary to carry it out.
Have you ever wondered how we got to effective learning? How do we go from knowing absolutely nothing about something to knowing how to do it perfectly? We all go through common behavior when we are in the learning process.
This learning process was defined by the humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow, in 4 well differentiated stages, which occur while we improve our results and change our behavior so that we can successfully develop our goal.
- First stage: unconscious incompetence
- Second stage: conscious incompetence
- Third stage: conscious competition
- Fourth stage: conscious competition.
Next, we will define each of them:
- Unconscious Incompetence
Before starting the process of learning something new for us, the most common thing is that we are in this first stage of learning in which we are not yet aware that we do not know how to do something correctly, because until the moment it begins to learn, We need to dedicate efforts of any kind to learn how to do it. We just didn’t have to think about it.
Example, let’s imagine that a friend has challenged you to participate against him in a domino game. Imagine that until then you have never played domino, this game had never caught your attention, until your friend challenged you, you were not fully aware that you did not know how to play. You know the mechanics, you have seen it, you know that game exists, but that’s it. You have never thought about it because you have not needed it. This is where the first stage of the learning process begins.
- Conscious Incompetence
Once we are aware that there is something we have to learn, we begin to look at the details that we previously decided to ignore completely because they were not interesting or important to us. In this second stage of the learning process we become aware of the need that has arisen and that we have to face. We begin to dedicate mental resources to pay attention to the details related to this new activity that is presented to us.
In our example, the process of learning conscious incompetence begins when you are challenged to play domino and accept the challenge. Now you know you are incompetent, you don’t know the rules.
- Conscious Competition
After practicing many times you manage to develop skills to the point of getting it done correctly. This part of the learning process is conscious competition, we have not yet internalized the details that we have to take into account, but if we pay attention to the activity we can carry it out successfully.
- Unconscious Competence
This is the last stage of the learning process. Once we have mastered how to do something we begin to automate the process, as we practice we internalize and memorize the steps that we have to follow until we achieve the desired objective. Every time we need to be less attentive to the details because we have been memorizing them through practice.
In our example, now you know the techniques, you are able to know which tile to use at the right time to defeat your opponent. You may not win the game, but of course you will know how to play dominoes in the future.
If we look we can show that the process of learning skills of a human being is consistent with the path of their needs. In other words, our learning capacities are adapted according to the need that we need to cover at all times.