In psychology the term procedural knowledge refers to one of the mental procedures used to store information in the long term. It is one of the two main methodologies, it is recognized because it handles information that is obtained in an unconscious way.

Any type of information or skill that is learned without the person being fully conscious is mentioned . This is the case of learning a language, from an early age the individual maintains contact with others; that instruct you without your full attention. Also in this way  skills such as walking or cycling are learned, people often do not know how to explain explicitly how they managed to do it.

What is procedural knowledge?

Procedural knowledge is defined as a mental process that helps to build a data system, these will be available in the long term. It is a type of knowledge that shows that it is possible to perform an activity unconsciously. 

It is a type of knowledge that is very important within the educational environment. Through it, tools are acquired that allow students to collect, understand, apply, rank and find relationships between various data that have been acquired by a theoretical methodology.

It is usually stated that it is a type of knowledge that does not depend on formal learning or the intervention of an educational methodology . Therefore, it also covers a smaller amount of information when compared to declarative knowledge .

In this case, it is characterized by acquiring information that allows following a series of steps, these will help to complete a process successfully. Applies to situations in which it is necessary to plan a solution. Activities such as strategies and the application of rules are mentioned , as is known, these are procedures that guarantee to achieve specific objectives.

This is a typology that focuses on finding how to be able to do certain things, which is why it refers to the skills that are related to the execution of a particular activity. It manifests itself through actions, practices and the use of both manual and cognitive skills . Eventually they help the process of developing a skill or strategy that shows remarkable maturation.

Procedural knowledge characteristics 

This is a type of knowledge that is presented as a set of practical knowledge . It turns out to be essential to have an adequate handling of various conceptual contents, which are in turn associated with certain procedures. Other important features are described below:

  • It is related to and supported by declarative knowledge.
  • Physical and cognitive skills apply equally.
  • It is not a knowledge that can be learned directly , it depends on the teaching and the practice of certain activities.
  • A series of actions is defined that incorporate aspects such as strategies and rules . These are important because it is the only way to complete a certain action. An example of this type is found in mathematical algorithms.
  • series of actions or decisions must be executed in sequence . They are called as procedures, which can guarantee the resolution of any problem.
  • It is knowledge that always tries to explain why .
  • It is a type of knowledge that can be perfected by using certain skills or abilities .
  • In a permanent way he is always developing and looking for new procedures and skills.
  • The techniques, methods and procedures are organized and directed to a specific purpose. You learn to use them in order to learn correctly.
  • It is composed of two parts, a formal language represented by a symbolic system . The second is a system of rules or algorithms, which help to find a solution.
  • In most cases, instructions are followed that are executed from a linear sequence .
  • It usually focuses on specific problems, it does not usually cover generalizable problems.
  • It can be defined as an automatic knowledge , it requires a conscious attention that is minimal; but it must be used correctly.
  • Difficulties can arise when it comes to certain mental procedures. An example is verbalization or detailed explanations.  

7 practical examples

For example, instructional resources are usually used, these are used to learn new content that is based on procedures. Its execution depends on aspects such as comprehension, contextualization, practice and repetition in addition to others. Here are some examples:

1 Physical abilities 

They are a good example of procedural content that helps to know how to do. Used body movements and manual skills . They are a fundamental part because you learn what discipline is. Examples of this type are sports, crafts, dancing, driving a vehicle, and even public speaking.

2 Cognitive skills 

They are the mental processes like reading or solving a sum. Logic and reflection are applied, most of the daily activities can be mixed; because the cognitive and the physical are combined. For example, speaking and writing combine motor and mental skills.

3 Learn to play musical instruments 

It requires the acquisition of a large amount of information related to procedural knowledge. Skills related to position and movement are combined, proper handling will allow to produce sounds. The theoretical part is also mentioned, in this way there will be effective learning and the practical part will be better understood.

4 Solving mathematical problems 

The application of theoretical skills is required, these will show information that helps to find a solution. The strategy consists of explaining the steps , later with practice any error can be corrected.

5 Collection and systematization of data 

Also procedural knowledge is related to the data collection process. It proceeds to use a series of methodologies that facilitate its search, interpretation and classification, these last steps are part of the systematization.

A good example is the proper use of the instruments of a chemical laboratory, here both cognitive and physical skills are combined. Not only is it possible to collect new information through research carried out with these instruments, later the old and new data are classified.

6 Reflection 

Reflective exercises are a type of procedure that helps to understand the meaning of an action. Allusion is made to certain previous experiences and new knowledge that together can be useful.

7 Planning or building an action plan 

Feedback consists of the extensive, appropriate and relevant exchange of knowledge, ideas and opinions. An example of this type is found in the process of creating a plan that depends on planning and construction.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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