Integral Leadership: the learning ladder

The learning ladderThe learning ladder: how do we learn a new skill?

The Learning Ladder describes the steps we go through when learning a new skill. It can be applied to virtually all learning scenarios but the example we will use here is learning a second language.

Suppose we think about learning to speak Spanish.

I begin as a child, at a level of Unconscious Incompetence. I cannot speak the language but I am not aware of this. I may not even know Spain or language other than my mother tongue exists.

One year we go on holiday to Spain. As my awareness expands I move to a level of Conscious Incompetence - I am aware that the language "Spanish" exists and I am aware that I cannot speak it. I now have the option to do something about it.

I embark on a Spanish course and become a proficient speaker. However, I am not yet fluent, I have to concentrate hard to get it right and am aware of my limitations. I am at a level of Conscious Competence.

Finally, after many years of learning and practise I become fluent in Spanish, start to think in Spanish and even dream in Spanish. Speaking a foreign language becomes second nature to me and I no longer have to concentrate hard on the formation of the language. I have reached the level of Unconscious Competence.

Think of some other learning scenarios and see how these steps apply

See also:

The Learning Ladder - Integral Leadership, Executive Development Programmes
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