Stages of Learning

When learning a skill people go thru 5 cognitive progression stages. They learn to think differently in each stage...

1. Novice

They don't have a working mental model of the problem.

  • Do things by following a process/rote
  • Ask nonsense questions
  • Cannot tell what's relevant and what's not.
  • Its possible that they don't know that they are a novice(they might be confident due to Dunning-Kruger Effect)

They can be helped by giving them concept maps - a visual model of the problem. Showing all components and the relationship between them.


To teach novices, you have to be a guide - tell them step by step.

2. Advanced Beginner

3. Competent

To teach people who are competent, you need to be a mentor. Give them tasks and let them figure it out.

4. Proficient

5. Expert

  • See solutions very quickly
  • They can switch between different points of views/approaches
  • Much better at debugging(can explain the cause from the final effect)
  • They have difficulty explaining their thinking - because it has become intuition to them.