Bloom’s 3 Stages of Talent Development

by Justin Skycak on

First, fun and exciting playtime. Then, intense and strenuous skill development. Finally, developing one's individual style while pushing the boundaries of the field.

As discovered by psychologist Benjamin Bloom, the journey to developing a high level of talent can be divided into three stages.

Each stage is characterized by the following factors:

  1. the student's level of skill and committment,
  2. the teacher's level of expertise of the teacher,
  3. the type of training activities that are used, and
  4. the mode of interaction between the teacher and the student.

All these factors co-occur in three clusters, i.e., the three stages of talent development. If there is ever a mismatch in which some arrangement of factors does not match with one of the three stages, friction occurs within the talent development process, which can ultimately lead to failure.

Stage I: Fun and exciting playtime

Students are just starting to develop awareness and interest in the talent domain. The teacher provides copious positive feedback and approval and encourages students to explore whatever aspects of the talent domain they find most exciting. Students are rewarded for effort rather than for achievement and criticism is rare.

Stage II: Intense and strenuous skill development

Students are fully committed to increasing their performance. The teacher becomes or is replaced by a coach, who focuses on training exercises where the sole purpose is to improve performance. These exercises are demanding, and the coach provides constructive criticism to help the student perform the exercises properly. Positive feedback is provided in response to achievement; effort is assumed.

Stage III: Developing one’s individual style while pushing the boundaries of the field

Students are proficient in all the foundational skills in the talent domain. They are so committed that they center their entire lives around the talent domain, no matter the sacrifice, and typically work with a world-class expert in the talent domain. The expert helps the student identify and lean into their individual strengths so that they can excel beyond perceived human capabilities.