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Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. Aristotle. What grade do you expect to make in this class? 22222222222 What are you willing to do to make that grade?. STEPS in the Learning Process. Developing Effective Study Skills The four stages of competence

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What grade do you expect to make in this class?


What are you willing to do to make that grade?


Developing Effective Study Skills

The four stages of competence

Unconscious incompetence

The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognize their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage. The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn.

Conscious incompetence

Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. The making of mistakes can be integral to the learning process at this stage.

Conscious competence

The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.

Unconscious competence

The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become "second nature" and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.

Dr. Thomas Gordon of Gordon Training International


The steps involved in the learning process are:

  • observation,
  • description of what has been learned
  • putting what been learned into action.

Learning is a complex process that is frequently understood as an intellectual activity of gaining knowledge.

The teaching/learning process can be better described by the eight phases of learning described by Gagne (1985).

1. Attention: Alertness

2. Expectancy

3. Retrieval to Working Memory

4. Selective Perception

5. Encoding: Entry to Long-Term Memory

6. Responding

7. Feedback

8. Cueing Retrieval


Attention: Alertness

Learning is not likely to occur in the absence of attention. Attention is essential for getting information into the working memory and keeping it active there. Therefore, the first phase in the learning process is that the learner must focus attention on the learning activity. Although this is listed as the "first phase," attention must be maintained throughout the other phases as well.



During this phase, the learner develops an expectancy that something desirable will happen as a result of the proposed learning process.

The result is a motivation to engage in the subsequent phases of the learning process.

Retrieval of Relevant Information to Working Memory

The learner retrieves from long-term memory the structures that will be helpful in learning new information or solving problems that have been encountered.


Selective Perception

During this phase the learner focuses attention on the essential features of the instructional presentation. It is not always possible for teachers to ascertain by simple inspection where students are focusing attention; and learners often fail to learn because they have focused on the wrong information.

A frequent source of faulty selective perception is a fundamental misconception about the topic under consideration: the learner may think he/she is focusing on the correct information, when in reality this is a mistake.

Teachers often assume that because their own attention is focused on the right aspects of the presentation, their students must be focusing on the same aspects. It is best to test this assumption and to make corrections when necessary.


Encoding--Entry of Information into Long-Term Storage.

During this phase the learner encodes the information on which he or she has clearly focused attention - that is, transfers the information into long-term memory by relating it to information that is already stored there.


During this phase the learner retrieves and actively uses the information that has been stored in long-term memory. The learner demonstrates through an active performance that the learning has taken place.



During this phase the learner determines the degree to which the performance during the previous phase was satisfactory.

When the feedback indicates acceptable performance, this usually serves as reinforcement to the learner.

When this feedback shows that the learner's performance was imperfect, the learner loops back to an earlier phase of learning.

For example, the learner may go back and seek appropriate prerequisite knowledge or focus attention more effectively during selective perception and then continue again with the subsequent steps and the learner does not go beyond this step until the information has been learned.


Cueing Retrieval

During this phase the learner practices recalling or applying the information after it has been initially learned in order to enhance retention of the information or to transfer the learning beyond its original context to a new application.