Dreyfus Model of Skill Aquisition [ARCHIVE]

by Isaac Sanders

The Dreyfus model of skill acquisition is a way of measuring someone’s progression through learning skills. It rates them at one of five different levels. There are Novices, the lowest and least experienced of the five. They require strict rules to perform, and have little to no context of what they are doing. The Advanced Beginner is slightly more responsible, and understands the context of a problem a little bit better. Most people who have careers in a specific area can be placed at the Competent level. Those who are Competent have a greater understanding of the effects of their actions in relation to the set goals, and have built routines for how they perform the actions related to this skill. A Proficient person will have a better view of the situation, and will have the context to prioritize its aspects. The top level of this model is the Expert. The Expert not only has a better understanding of the project on whole, but can see where it will go based on the knowledge that they have accumulated. The Experts actions are based more on intuition, than the strict rules that a Novice needs.

I am either an Advanced Beginner or Competent with regards to programming, but a Novice in software development. I have other skills in which I am Proficient, such as camping. I will go through a few skills that I am working on, and reflect on how I can improve and what allowed me to get where I am.

Camping- I am an Eagle Scout, and I have been active in Scouting for the past 11 years. I started as a Tiger Cub and am now active in Scouting’s Honor Society, the Order of the Arrow. I have camped more than I can recount (rough geusstimate at 150 days and nights), and I have helped other campers learn how to get better themselves. It is because of this and other reasons, I believe that I am Proficient in camping. I still, however, have plenty of room to improve. I have not camped on my own for a long time, but would like to plan a trip that would test my abilities. I enjoy hiking or biking, so I might try to do a bike trek or backpacking trip sometime this summer.

Organization- I am not an extremely organized person. I lose things and forget things all of the time. Sometimes it can take me hours to find something that is sitting right in front of me. I have little concept of how things should be organized. I consider my self a Novice organizer. Some ways that I could improve would probably begin with getting rid of some stuff that I don’t need/use on a regular basis. Removing the clutter from my life should allow me to sleep better and clearer focus. Once I get rid of unnecessary things, then the important things may begin to fall into logical groups.

Programming- I have always been interested in computers. My mother tells a story that I was moving a mouse and clicking on things when I was 6 months old. When I was in 4th grade, I started looking into computer programming, but could not find a good starting place. It was not til my Sophomore year of high school, when I started the Post Secondary Education program at OSU, that I started learning my first language. The class I took was in Java, and I loved it. It was at that point that I knew that I just had to do this the rest of my life. Last winter, I took a introductory course in C++ and furthered my understanding of programming theory. I would place myself at Advanced Beginner or Proficient in programming. Some of the thoughts I have to get stronger is to continue watching and learning from the people I meet at the Columbus Ruby Brigade and Code and Coffee, both of which are developer meetups around Columbus. I plan to work with Joe, my mentor, for a long time to come, and I know that he will do his best to make my experience the best that it can be.

I have a lot of things to work on, and I am, slowly but surely. The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, so I don’t expect to change over night. I just want to ask that anyone who reads this to consider making a list of things that they are good at, ok at, and maybe not so great at, and think of some ways to improve. If you do, and end up blogging it, make sure to leave a link in the comments.

Sources: Wikipedia.org, Pragmatic Thinking and Learning

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