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The Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition

First proposed by Stuart and Hubert Dreyfus in 1980, this model suggests that people go through roughly five stages as they acquire new skills.

I first heard of this model from Dan North, who first made me aware of the Dreyfus model and some of its implications in the field of software development.

These can be seen as steps on the road to Mastery.


1. Novice

This stage is characterized by:

2. Advanced Beginner

Learners at this stage exhibit the following characteristics:

3. Competent

At this stage the following characteristics are seen:

4. Proficient

At this stage we see the following signs of development:

5. Expert

aka: expertise

At this stage of development, learners:


Next: Implications of the Dreyfus Model