Robinsons Four Stages Of Learning

We’ve incorporated an element on 'Robinson's Four Stages of Learning' into our trainings in 'Resilience' and 'Preventing and Managing Stress', and wanted to include it here too. We can apply it to any kind of learning.

Unconsciously incompetent
Consciously incompetent
Consciously competent
Unconsciously competent

This model is helpful as it helps us to track where we're at in the learning cycle, as follows:
One (Unconsciously incompetent): Don't Know What I Don't Know
Two (Conscioulsly incompetent): Realise I Can't Do It, But Haven't Found A Way To Do Anything About It Yet
Three (Consciously competent): Know What I Should Do, And Can If I Try (Doesn't Come Naturally)
Four (Unconsciously competent): Can Do It Without Thinking (It Comes Naturally)
It allows us too of course to figure out where we want to get to. It also helps us to see that if we are at Stage One, we're not in a position to learn, because we don't see the need for it or the point in it.

Getting to Stage Two is key, as we are recognising and identifying here that there is a development need, and having done that, and acknowledged that we CAN do something about it, we can set about finding a way to meet that need. In the context of our resilience and ability to handle pressure and prevent and deal with stress, getting to Stage Two is very empowering in that we are not in or have moved on from the 'There's nothing I can do and I'm helpless, nothing can happen to improve things/I'll always feel like this' stage (One), and we can start to practice becoming competent as above. This helps us to take responsibility for our own wellbeing, which is good for us and the organisation too. (We should acknowledge too that when we're feeling stressed it makes it much more difficult for us to go through the stages and learn - which can be the very thing we need to do to stop getting stressed - as concentration, focus, insight etc desert us and we can experience physical symptoms too that provide a barrier to learning.) Here's an article about research into how the stress hormone cortisol prevents perceptual learning.

Whatever the learning, we aim to get to Stage Four, where we can just speak French/drive a car/handle pressure automatically. If we take the latter skill, that's not always easy to do if we're in the middle of something difficult, and we may revert to Stage Three as a result. We may even go back to Stage Two - 'I can't do this' - even though we know we can, and have done it before. The important thing is to remind ourselves of that, as a way of bolstering our confidence in our ability, and returning to Stages Three and Four

As an example, if you're starting to feel the pressure, and are experiencing negative symptoms, remind yourself that you are 'competent', that you can work through this, and come out the other end. You may also - at Stage Three - need to practice helpful thoughts and behaviours that encourage your resilience, like for example treating yourself well, doing things you enjoy, not giving yourself a hard time, focusing on the present and what you can control, and letting the future take care of itself.

Here’s an example of the learning process/stages to illustrate the above, which shows how we can learn and develop for ourselves and our staff. 

On meeting adversity/change/excess pressure/difficulties that may provoke negative outcomes or symptoms

Unconsciously incompetent

Potential thoughts/feelings:
"I haven't got a problem, it's outside that there's a problem, there's nothing I or anyone can do to make me feel better. Can't change anything. Powerless. They're doing it to me" 

Consciously incompetent

Need to get here, as otherwise you don't see the need for or the point in development

Consciously competent

 You handle situations better, but have to think about it and consciously do something. It doesn't come naturally yet, but you're practicing

Unconsciously competent

You handle situations without even thinking about it. The more you practice your new skills, the more your behaviour feels natural - you're on automatic pilot

   Please let me know if you'd like a word about the above or you'd like to know more about our programme of resilience training and coaching, or our stress training for staffand managers.Please get in touch with Marc Kirby at Stress Management Plus on 0118 3283246 or via email if you'd like a word about the above or you'd like to know more about our programme of Resilience training and Coaching, or our stress training for Staff and Managers.

We're helping organisations (see our client list) to save money every day, just in reducing sick absence costs and the costs of under-performance.

Get in touch now to start doing the same for your organisation today. Here are some example case studies demonstrating the benefits of investing in wellbeing.

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