1.2 Identifying Learning in the Workplace / 1.2.4 Development of Skills

This section is about how to develop skills in the dental environment

In dentistry the development of psychomotor skills is of high importance. These are skills that that require physical action, often involving coordination, manipulation, dexterity and speed.

The conscious competence learning model (Broadwell and Martin, 1969) describes the stages of learning psychomotor skills as progressing through four stages:

  1. Unconscious incompetence
  2. Conscious incompetence
  3. Conscious competence
  4. Unconscious competence

These stages of psychomotor skills learning are explained in the following matrix:

By breaking down this process of learning in to its constituent parts, your ability to support the learner becomes easier by working with the learner to identify a difficulty or deficiency at one or more stages of the cycle.


Broadwell, Martin M. (20 February 1969). "Teaching for learning (XVI)". wordsfitlyspoken.org. The Gospel Guardian. Retrieved 11 May 2018.