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Implicit Learning

The role of implicit learning in the study of school mathematics is being investigated. Our primary source from the literature of cognitive psychology is Implicit Learning - Theoretical and Empirical Issues by Berry and Dienes, 1993.

This research is motivated by the observation that many students at the Centre who have under-achieved in mathematics have been very successful learners in areas more usually associated with implicit learning (for example, visual and performing artists, writers, athletes, etc.). The learning of mathematics is customarily viewed as explicit. How then can the learning successes of the implicit learner be most effectively exploited in the learning of mathematics?

A theoretical model for empirical investigation is currently being developed.

How is the Learning of Mathematics Different From the Learning of Art, Music or a Sport?


Cognitive psychologists tell us that mathematics is most often learned by applying correct rules to manipulate numbers and symbols. They also tell us that art, music and sports are most often learned by imitating observed behaviour. These are fundamentally different learning patterns. Since many students who have under-achieved in mathematics have achieved high standards in these other areas, we are investigating more ways of adapting this form of learning to the learning of mathematics.
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