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Episodic Knowledge

We cannot search our episodic knowledge systematically. Remembering one can help you recall the other, but they are distinct. Remembered episodes can be retrieved and considered in new contexts. I could be questioned whether memory for episodes in itself constitutes knowledge. Episodic memory is raw material out of which knowledge may at times be constructed. One thing reminds us of another, and most of the time the connections are superficial. Episodic knowledge would seem to represent a great intellectual resource that is largely wasted. Episodic knowledge is not about episodes and facts stored in the mind but about a mind with the ability to recall past experiences and previously encountered facts, coupled with a disposition to do some spontaneously as well as under conscious direction. What is recalled may amount to significant knowledge at some times and not at others, but there can be little doubt that the recall of past experiences is an important part of knowledge ability. (Bereiter, 2002. chapter 5)

Impressionistic knowledge

Impressionistic knowledge is what we are left with after we have forgotten all the explicit content of a great literary or artistic work. Beyond statable knowledge and beyond our more confidently held implicit understandings lies a realm of feelings and impressions that also influence our actions. All personal knowledge has an emotional aspect. What distinguishes impressionistic knowledge is that the feelings are the knowledge. Feelings and impressions also constitute important knowledge in circumstances where reason and evidence offer no guidance. Impressionistic knowledge is not measurable and almost totally ignored in education. (Bereiter, 2002. chapter 5)


Skill learning is ubiquitous. No matter what you do, if you do it repeatedly you will become more skillful at it. Skills have both a cognitive and a subcognitive component, and it is worth distinguishing them, even though they are closely intertwined. The cognitive part is the knowing- how. The subcognitive part is the inevitable change in any skill that takes place with practice. The performance becomes smoother, more automatic, and more economical of effort. The cognitive and the subcognitive parts of skill learning can cooperate or they can get in each other’s way, which is what makes skill learning an interesting challenge. Cooperation occurs when the automaticity gained through practice frees up mental resources that enable you to think about what you are doing while you are doing it. Skill is a form of knowledge, but that it depends on a body that also learns in its own unknowing way. (Bereiter, 2002. chapter 5)

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