Talk:Four stages of competence

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4 stages and "alternative" seem identical[edit]

Currently (23 Oct 2014) the 4 stages of competence are listed together with an "alternative" 4 stages, but these seem absolutely identical except for one extra sentence that does not substantively change the content. I advocate getting rid of this "alternative" section. (talk) 20:50, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

Agreed. Additionally, this "Alternate" section was entirely without references, while the first section has references. I have deleted the section. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 14:14, 7 January 2015 (UTC)


  • Merge. This should be merged with competence or better connected to its source topic. Kukini 14:09, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

I had heard these four "stages" presented differently. In the "learning" or personal development model that I saw in a Dale Carnegie management course, the labels were the same, but the "unconscious competent" was described as someone with little or no learning that has been applied in a directed or purposeful way, such as someone who is self-taught out of necessity, often by trial and error over a long time. At some point such an individual might have become very proficient, but would still not necessarily be able to either explain his or her reasons for doing the task in a particular way. The point of the Carnegie learning was that the "true professional" is one who gains such a deep cognitive understanding of the desirable or ideal state of competence his or her capabilities in such a scientific way, that he or she can explain their cpabilities to educate others AND can adapt to changes in circumstance that might render the unconsconscious competent less effective or entirely unable to perform. While an unconscious competent might be able to demonstrate a capability under conditions similar to those in which he or she learned the task by painful repetitions, frequent failures, and all-too-rare successes, he or she might not be able to observe and analyze another's weaknesses or understand why a weakness is a weakness. The "conscious competent" is not only proficient, but also possesses a deep cognitive understanding of the principles supporting his or her dazzling abilities, thanks to not only being capable but understanding why he or she is capable (usually under a variety of conditions and in a broad range of environments. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 22:03, June 7, 2006.

Comprehensive Edit[edit]

There is no evidence for Maslow being responsible for this theory: its attribution to him comes from an unreferenced edit on 26 December 2009. Since, an academic paper has now referenced this article's claim that Maslow is responsible for this theory. This undermines Wikipedia's credibility, as closer investigation reveals the claim to be totally unfounded. I would guess that the edit was due to a misremembered piece of reading. I intend to re-attribute the theory to Dr Thomas Gordon, citing several sources, and further improve the article.

--Alasdair Forrest (talk) 13:17, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

I have improved the referencing and have slightly expanded the article. The quality of online material on this model is fairly low, so I do not know how much more the article can be expanded. I hope that the edit represents an improvement. The article is now fully referenced, and I propose removing the refimprove box, and will do so in a few days if I get no objections. --Alasdair Forrest (talk) 10:47, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

Fifth Stage[edit]

User Gti123 edited the page to remove the passage on a fifth stage in the theoretical model. This fifth stage appears in much of the literature relating to this model, and was referenced. From the edit history, and the name, it looks as though this user may be related to Gordon Training International, from where the Four-stage model may have come. The fifth stage does not appear in their publications, but it does have encyclopaedic value, so I propose to put it back in the article. --Alasdair Forrest (talk) 09:59, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

Original Source[edit]

An article titled "conscious competence learning model" ( tells of three sources of attribution, and claims that the earliest creation of the Four stages of competence is from the article 'Teaching for Learning' by Martin M. Broadwell, dated: February 20, 1969 – Jdmumma (talk) 07:06, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Yeah, But What About Delusions of Adequacy?[edit]

Something that's rather different from the Stage Ones shown here: the aggressive assertion of competence based on delusional notions of what it might look like.

David Lloyd-Jones (talk) 19:53, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

A search for "4 Stages of Competence" doesn't link here[edit]

If someone searches wikipedia for the "4" stages of competence, using the number, wikipedia acts like this article doesn't exist. This is a problem because it probably leads some people to believe there's no article on the topic. I didn't know why it wasn't coming up and only got back here by searching my web history. (talk) 13:06, 1 March 2016 (UTC)

Fixed, thanks. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 08:44, 6 December 2016 (UTC)