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Training the 21st-century worker (IBE Working Papers on Curriculum Issues N° 16)

How to promote complex skills acquisition? In this latest issue of the IBE Working Papers on Curriculum, the author reviews cognitive research findings on skills acquisition, focusing in particular on the ‘dark network’ of implicit memory, and highlights some potential implications for education policy.

According to documents cited, there is a trend to focus on innovations and de-emphasize knowledge acquisition. However, complex skills are formed by combining and automatizing shorter chains of component skills. The training process requires much practice, feedback, and rearrangement of basic skills over time.

The author suggests that in order to guarantee that all students acquire complex skills it is necessary to first ensure the automatization of basic components. It is also important to use the wealth of research offered by cognitive science and apply it education and training strategies.

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