Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

pp 2694-2696

Procedural Learning

  • Leonard F. KoziolAffiliated withFielding Graduate Institute Email author 
  • , Deborah Ely BuddingAffiliated withPrivate Practice


Habit learning; Implicit learning; Perceptual skill learning; Sequence learning; Serial-order learning; Skill learning


Procedural learning refers to the acquisition of motor skills and habits, and certain types of cognitive skills. Unlike declarative learning and memory, procedural memory is typically inaccessible to conscious recollection. While factual information is consciously recalled in declarative or explicit memory, in procedural learning, acquisition and memory are demonstrated through task performance. In declarative learning, fact acquisition can occur very quickly, even upon single exposure to an event, but procedural learning usually requires repetition of an activity, and associated learning is demonstrated through improved task performance. Declarative learning and memory lends itself to explicit, conscious recollection. Procedural learning and memory are implicit; the actual learning is inferred from an individual’s improvement in perf ...

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