Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

2012 Edition
| Editors: Norbert M. Seel

Bottom-Up Learning and Top-Down Learning

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_387



Bottom-up learning refers to learning implicit knowledge first and then learning explicit knowledge on that basis (i.e., through “extracting” implicit knowledge).

Top-down learning refers to learning explicit knowledge first and then learning implicit knowledge on that basis (i.e., assimilating explicit knowledge into an implicit form).

Theoretical Background

The idea of two systems in the human mind (implicit and explicit) that are rather separate for representing or learning different types of knowledge or skills can be traced back to early work in psychology, for example, on classical and instrumental conditioning (without subjective conscious awareness) and so on.

In particular, Arthur Reber demonstrated very early on (in the 1970s and 1980s) that subjects could memorize letter strings that followed...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cognitive Science DepartmentRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA