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Conscious Competence model


Just wondering if anyone knows who the origniator for the Conscious Competence model is? I have asked several trainers and looked at different websites but with out any luck. Maybe one of you can help!!
Christina James

5 Responses

  1. Skills Learning Ladder
    I think Peter is right, as usual, in that there is no proven originator. An early version refers to ‘Don’t know can’t do, do know can’t do, do know can do, can do without thinking’, which I quite like. Whether this pre-dates the Concious Competence format I wouldn’t like to say.

  2. consious – competence model
    I believe the person who has developed this idea to the greatest extent is Professor Phil Race, currently at Leeds University. Working with him in the 1980s I knew he was developing it as a four-way dynamic model of personal development(conscious-unconscious competence – uncompetance). It is more recently discussed in his book, The Lecturers Toolkit (2nd edition 2001 Routledge Farmer. He also has a website ( and there’s a powerpoint presentation that demonstrates his model. Email me personally if you need more info –

  3. Conscious competence

    I recently read a book about Indian culture and, having used the 4 stages of development for years,was amazed to discover that Sikh’s have to go through 4 stages of personal development. These are described in some detail and include the unconscious incompetence etc. stages.

    Perhaps the training theory is related to religious and personal development.

    I’d be interested to hear what others think?



  4. Originator ‘Conscious competence’
    I’m pretty sure it was Robinson in 1974 who first used the terms, “Personnel review” comes to mind as the Journal but I’m away from the office, so can’t be 100% sure.
    The same ‘stages’ appear in many earlier models in specific training fields(e.g. Flemming writing in 1953, Hogan in ’64, both concerned with training therapists)and it’s quite likely that there is earlier work that I’m not aware of. Nothings New!
    Edit: I found an interview with W Lewis Robinson in the Personnel Journal v 53, No. 7 July 1974 pages 538-539, in which Robinson cited the four categories (UC/IC, C/IC, C/C and UC/C) in the context of training, and pointed out that UC/C practitioners often weren’t effective as teachers.


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