Hi-Lab: A Test of Learning Aptitude

Might we one day take a test that determines whether we require our teaching to be more or less explicit in nature?

“In one study published in Psychological Science in 2013, people’s performance on an implicit learning task correlated with an ability to learn Hebrew words, and in another study published in Language Learning, people who did well on sequence learning tasks (such as those used in the Hi-LAB study) also did well understanding grammar in a second language. It all points in one direction: “that implicit learning may be a large part of how second languages are acquired,” said Bozena Pajak, a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Language Sciences at the University of Rochester. . . .

The Hi-LAB can also become a powerful tool in the educational sphere. Because it identifies a person’s learning strengths and weaknesses, the test results could grease a student’s instructional path by showing how they learn best, whether it’s through reading or talking to people, through explicit grammar lessons or watching movies. CASL executive director Amy Weinberg said that a partnership is in the works with IBM to develop a learner management system that would deliver the appropriate language learning material to people based on their test results and other factors.”

–Michael Erard, “Secret Military Test, Coming Soon to Your Spanish Class” on Nautil.us

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