The process for learning any skill or information is similar for thousands of people.  Whether there are four, five, or six stages, they can be summarized as follow:
Stage 1:  MOTIVATION/Responding to stimulus in the environment:  watching, observing, having a need or an interest in learning a particular skill or concept, being curious
Stage 2:  BEGINNING PRACTICE/Doing it:  practicing, practicing, practicing; trying and making mistakes; learning from mistakes; asking questions; consulting others; understanding the basics; making mistakes; taking lessons; achieving some success
Stage 3:  ADVANCED PRACTICE/Increasing in skill and confidence:  practicing, practicing, practicing; more trying and more mistakes; more learning from mistakes; gaining some control; reading; becoming encouraged; experimenting; trying new ways; getting positive feedback; enjoying the learning; taking more lessons; getting feedback; gaining more confidence; achieving more success; beginning to share skill with others
Stage 4:  SKILLFULNESS/Becoming creative:  more practicing, doing it one's own way, feeling good about oneself, receiving positive reinforcement, sharing knowledge with other, achieving more success, increasing in self-confidence
Stage 5: REFINEMENT/Making further improvement:  learning new methods, skill becoming second nature, continuing to develop skill, becoming different from anyone else, becoming creative, gaining independence, receiving validation from others, forming habits, teaching others
Stage 6: MASTERY/Applying skills in broader ways:  taking on greater challenges, teaching, continuing to improve or else dropping the skill, going to higher levels that feed other interests, getting better and better

To learn more about the natural human learning process (NHLP), read Rita Smilkstein's book, We're Born to Learn:  Using the Brain's Natural Learning Process to Create Today's Curriculum, published by Corwin Press, 2003.
This page last updated, Tuesday, May 18, 2010, by Connie Gulick.

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