We essentially learn for two reasons;
- To pass a test on way to get an accreditation or
- To develop a new lasting skill
No need to reference the thousands of papers on this subject for the next point because you can answer it yourself… which one lasts longer and has more practical advantage? Yep, the second one!
So what’s the difference?
For most people, learning something to pass a test will be short lived and it is cognitive only. You can no doubt think of many instances of this happening for yourself. Do you recall most of what you learned in High School, Uni / College or even last week? This could hardly be considered learning to develop a long lasting and practical skill.
To Learn for skill has three phases; cognitive, associative and autonomous.
Cognitive is where you identify and develop an appreciation for the component parts of the skills (this relates to any and ALL skills) – you are in essence creating a picture of the skill in your mind. It an all important step but its only the first step – unless you only want to pass a test… This stage is what we call the ‘heightened awareness’ stage and unfortunately where most people end their training. Result: this heightened awareness, even with all its potential appreciation and enthusiasm, dissipates rapidly and the old status quo (beliefs, methods, non-competence) remains.
Associative phase is where we link the component parts to an action or problem to be solved. This is the beginning of the all important (and critical) practice element. Without deliberate practice no skill can be developed to a high degree no matter how innately talented you are… regardless of the skill; hitting a golf ball, playing the guitar or leading and inspiring a team – they are all skills and require deliberate practice to become proficient. Coaching is another element at this stage to ensure you get support and stay on track to develop the right skills and habits rather than the wrong ones.
Autonomous stage is where you have practiced to the point where you now have what is sometimes called unconscious competence. Or in a physiological sense, through repeated deliberate practice you’ve developed myelinated neurons to perform that ability easily – in other words; where you started out being non-competent you now have a super highway for your brain to perform that skill practically effortlessly.
If you want to learn and develop usable sustainable skills, which you can call on whenever required you have to reach the autonomous phase.
Our MSB Max Professional Journey Steps advice for this edition is:
To actually learn and develop a skill rather than simply have some short lived heightened awareness make sure you are participating in all three stages of your development.
If we can help you with this journey please contact us, we do this well and its why we exist – to help you!
Enjoy the journey.