In a learning organization, how do you engage people at various levels of the Dreyfus Model?

The Dreyfus Model of Skills Acquisition outlines 5 steps to learning a skill, going from a Novice to an Expert. An organization already has a fair mix of these individuals.

When implementing a learning initiative in your organization, be it elearning, social media or enterprise 2.0 - how do you engage people at the various levels of this model? What can each person expect from your platform? How will your solution help them in their journey of skills acquisition?

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I think that a broader view needs to be taken beyond a single model - in this case Dreyfus.

Maybe you need to look at this in conjunction with the 4 stages of competence / Johari window, where the Dreyfus beginner levels are intrinsically linked to the unconsciously and consciously incompentent levels, competent is linked to consciously competent and Proficient to unconsciously competent. The mythical fifth stage in the 4 stages of competency - Conscious competence of unconscious competence - could well apply to the expert.

For the sake of Johari let's forget the fifth possibility and lump it into the top corner of unconsciously competent.

In this way you can start to build up a more complex, 3D picture of what might be driving people / how they can be encourages to adopt a learning outlook and use the tools available to help them along the way. There has to be a means with all methods to both dig deeper into a topic, to aid learning through reflection and review, and to measure progress and achievement. Not only against the specific skills to be learned but also against the competency level achieved. The language of the 4 stages of competency model is negative vs. the positive path of the Dreyfus Model so I'd use those terms in feedback.

Now to the crux - how do you get people who are beginners with no desire to move forwards into the mindset of WANTING to develop further. Questions to answer here are: does the organisation as a whole encourage initiative taking, risk taking, ownership etc. and reward them, or does the organisation penalise individuals who show signs of positivity? Is there a review process in place that measures competency across soft and hard skills, and are managers trained to use it? Are coaches, mentors and role models in place, or do you work somewhere between apathy and the lowest common denomenator in any team?

Only when you have the big picture and can view the situation from many, if not all angles, can you start to consider how to deliver the learning using whatever means and technologies. If the business goals, culture and structure are wrong whatever steps you take will only benefit the very few who are self-motivated enough to take advantage of your efforts.

I work from the principle that learning is the path to better business, teamwork and ultimately a better culture so buy in must be at strategic level so your learning plans are built in from the top in everything the organisation does. The results should be clearly visible in the bottom line.



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