What Is Latent Learning?

latent-learning Credit: Image by Catherine MacBride/Moment/Getty Images

Latent learning is learning that is not apparent when a subject is being taught as it manifests at a later date when the learned skills or behavior are needed for a specific situation. When someone drives to work everyday, he or she gains knowledge of the area's roads and businesses along the way. This knowledge lies hidden in the subject's brain until it is needed.

For example, the person driving to work needs to stop at a service station one day. He or she draws on latent knowledge to remember the location of a service station. Even though the location of the business was never officially "taught," the person is able to find it due to latent learning.