The Dreyfus Model of Skills Acquisition

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Dreyfus Model Of Skills Acquisition

The Dreyfus model of skills acquisition by brothers Stuart and Huber Dreyfus covers covers a similar concept as the 3 step ShuHaRi but uses 5 stages instead from novice to expert. The stages follows a progression from rigid adherence to rules to an intuitive mode of reasoning based ontacit knowledge.

Michael Eraut summarized the five stages of increasing skill as follows:

1. Novice

  • “rigid adherence to taught rules or plans”
  • no exercise of “discretionary judgment”

2. Advanced beginner

  • limited “situational perception”
  • all aspects of work treated separately with equal importance

3. Competent

  • “coping with crowdedness” (multiple activities, accumulation of information)
  • some perception of actions in relation to goals
  • deliberate planning
  • formulates routines

4. Proficient

  • holistic view of situation
  • prioritizes importance of aspects
  • “perceives deviations from the normal pattern”
  • employs maxims for guidance, with meanings that adapt to the situation at hand

5. Expert

  • transcends reliance on rules, guidelines, and maxims
  • “intuitive grasp of situations based on deep, tacit understanding”
  • has “vision of what is possible”
  • uses “analytical approaches” in new situations or in case of problems

Dreyfus Model Of Skills Acquisition

The model is based on four binary qualities:

  • Recollection (non-situational or situational)
  • Recognition (decomposed or holistic)
  • Decision (analytical or intuitive)
  • Awareness (monitoring or absorbed)

The fundamental idea is that when teaching a concept, you have to tailor the style of teaching to where the learner is in their understanding and that progression follows a common pattern. Early stages of learning focus on concrete steps to imitate, the focus then shifts to understanding principles and finally into self-directed innovation. The skill level is tied to a mental function transitioning from recollection (non-situational or situational), recognition (decomposed or holistic), decision (analytical or intuitive), and awareness (monitoring or absorbed)

This leads to Situational Leadership where the leader’s leadership style and approach needs to chang based on the type of follower you are working with. Let’s looks at that next.

Learn more about the Dreyfus Model in the Building High Performing Teams Workshop.

Also check out the complete Fostering Self-organizing Teams series: