Dreyfus & Dreyfus Model of Skills Acquisition

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Peter Waskiw
United States

Dreyfus & Dreyfus Model of Skills Acquisition

According to brothers Stuart E. Dreyfus and Hubert L. Dreyfus (A Five-Stage Model of the Mental Activities Involved in Directed Skill Acquisition, University of California, Berkely, February 1980) individuals move through 5 stages when acquiring skills through instruction and practicing:
Stage 1. Novice > Stage 2. Competence > Stage 3. Proficiency > Stage 4. Expertise > Stage 5. Mastery
Later they slightly improved their stages and titles into:
- Stage 1. Novice (follows rules, specific rules for specific circumstances, no modifiers, context free, does not feel responsible for anything other than following the rule)
- Stage 2. Advanced Beginner (new “situational” elements are identified, rules begin to be applied to related conditions, decisions still are made by rule application, does not experience personal responsibility)
- Stage 3. Competent. (numbers of rules becomes excessive, learn organizing principles or “perspectives”, perspectives permit assorting information by relevance, the experience of responsibility arises from active decision-making)
- Stage 4. Proficient. (intuitive diagnosis, approach to problem molded by perspective arising from multiple real world experiences, “holistic similarity recognition”, learner uses intuition to realize “what” is happening, conscious decision-making and rules used to formulate plan)
- Stage 5. Expert. (don’t make decisions, don’t solve problems, do what works, no decomposition of situation into discrete elements, pattern recognition extends to plan as well as diagnosis.

Question: Has anyone heard of or or used the Dreyfus & Dreyfus model or similar within the context of project teams and/or within the context of cultural differences?

The original Dreyfus model of skill acquisition (1980)


The Dreyfus model of skill acquisition (Eraut 1994)

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