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Implicit Curriculum Details


Components of the Implicit Curriculum of Higher Education and of the Economic Model

By Samuel A. Odunsi, Sr.

Liberal Education

The expectations of ‘higher education for development’ are most stridently expressed as a common theme of speeches in higher education graduation ceremonies. Graduation speeches regularly suggest that a higher education degree imparts more than the ability to implement technical knowledge. They suggest that the graduate has also gained the ability to generalize the use of technical knowledge adaptively and creatively in the wider environment we call the economic model. And that this has enabled the graduate to conduct administrative and managerial responsibilities and avail entrepreneurial opportunities with the efficiency and consistent effectiveness seen in developed countries and among expatriates. This will thereby contribute to the common good of economic growth and job creation. Institutions do not discourage the presumption that, besides the acquisition of technical skills, a degree also equips the graduate with the managerial and entrepreneurial leadership skills that can accomplish the presumptions in the real world.

The lofty expectations of graduation speeches appear to stem from the promises of the liberal education component of higher education. Higher education is differentiated from vocational education mainly because of its “liberal education” component. This component is presumably the basis of the bold claims made for ‘higher education for development.’ In addition to learning a skill in a specific major or vocation, the liberal education component of higher education is said to “empower and prepare individuals to deal with complexity, diversity, and change and provides students with broad knowledge of the wider world such as in science, culture, and society.” In addition, “liberal education helps students develop a sense of social responsibility as well as strong and transferable intellectual and practical skills such as communication, analytical and problem-solving skills, and a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings.”[1] Liberal education has also been described as “the arts of using language, the faculty that distinguishes human nature from that of all animals.”[2] Among other outcomes, the ideal graduate of a liberal education program is said to be equipped with and will demonstrate the following:

  1. The integration of learning that will connect ideas and philosophies with the real world, connect one field or study or discipline with another, connect the past with the present, the abstract with the concrete, and vice versa.[3]
  2. Effective reasoning, autonomous critical thinking, analysis and evaluation of information and the synthesis of all this for making decisions and problem solving.[4]
  3. Leadership, including the individual values of consciousness of self, congruence, commitment, and the group values of collaboration, common purpose, controversy with civility, and societal and community values of good citizenship.[5]
  4. Inclination to inquire and the initiative for lifelong learning.[6]

The content of the liberal education component of an undergraduate degree varies among institutions[7] and between countries.[8] It generally includes the study of the social sciences, humanities, history, the arts, mathematics, the physical sciences, and composition.[9] There’s no shortage of the benefits claimed for liberal education, which reflects in graduation speeches. The intellect of the ideal graduate of such a curriculum has been described as “a clear, cold, logic engine, with all its parts of equal strength, and in smooth working order; ready, like a steam engine, to be turned to any kind of work (and) whose mind is stored with a knowledge of the great and fundamental truths of nature and of the laws of its operation.”[10] In contemporary terms, the intellect of the liberal education graduate may be comparable to a computer that is pre-programmed with the fundamental truths of nature, the laws of its operation, and dynamic pathways to configure or adapt this knowledge to any task contingently.


While the supporting narrative of liberal education coincides with the objectives of the Implicit Curriculum, its results do not. If the liberal education curriculum in its various forms has ever lived up to its supporting rhetoric, it has done so only for the developed countries and their expatriate diaspora. The persistence of underdevelopment in developing countries, fueled by the irredeemable shortage of effective managerial leadership despite ever increasing higher education attainment, is evidence that, for most, the liberal education curriculum adds little else to the vocational or professional training offered in higher education. Professional specialization under higher education programs has not translated into the managerial leadership that will lift developing economies to the level of developed countries. Higher education has not imparted the training needed for graduates to regularly become effective leaders for development in society, the type that will perform as well as expatriates. Rather, and thanks to the vocational training it provides, higher education has been good mainly for personal benefit—when the graduate is fortunate to find a job—and generally for superficial economic modernization. If higher education actually delivered for developing countries the expectations expressed in graduation speeches, they too would be developed by now and persistent underdevelopment would have been eradicated from our world.

In developed countries and among their diaspora, the economic model is a subset of their culture. The connection of the economic model to implicit knowledge has already taken place through passive acculturation by the time a member of the culture is old enough to enroll in higher education, as illustrated in Figure 2 of the Knowledge Tree. All that is subsequently learned by the student in higher education is then subject to the governance of the language faculty. This phenomenon has quietly been at work and taken for granted by the developed countries and among their diaspora. But when this culturally derived connection does not initially exist, when the student is from a country where the economic model is culturally alien, the liberal education curriculum drastically falls short of creating the connection, much less a permanent one. The Implicit Knowledge Gap thereby persists after the completion of higher education, as shown in Figure 3 of the Knowledge Tree. This difference between the promise and reality of liberal education in developing countries is the deficit.

The liberal education deficit derives mainly from the relatively superficial and limited familiarity with the economic model that liberal education curricula provides. Extensive and detailed familiarity with the economic model that far exceeds conventional curricula is central to the Implicit Curriculum. The level of familiarity offered in the standard liberal education curriculum may be sufficient for students from the cultures of developed countries to derive a benefit beyond merely learning technical or professional skills. For them, the existing connection of explicit knowledge about development with its implicit component (the language faculty) makes that a possibility. What is learned in school might strengthen or refine and maybe even diversify the ability of the student to express the economic model more prolifically or creatively. But such benefits are just “icing on the cake” of the connection already derived from culture.

However, students from developing countries do not enjoy that advantage. A far more intimate familiarity with the economic model and depth of understanding are required to overwhelm and break through the unconscious barrier between technical and implicit knowledge or to develop cognitive patterns, modules, and pathways to achieve the same end. Hence, the variety and depth of familiarity with the economic model offered in standard liberal education curricula are insufficient for students from the cultures of developing countries. Consequently, ‘higher education for development,’ at best, winds up as elaborate vocational training that is good mostly for personal benefit, not development. Nevertheless, and thanks to faith in the liberal education curriculum, higher education remains the predominant leadership incubator for developing countries, and graduates, by default, occupy leadership positions in the civil service, institutions, and in the professions.[11]

The Capstone Course

A capstone is a faculty-supervised independent research project course with a focus on integrative and critical thinking.[12][13] At the institutions that offer it, the capstone is usually a one-course requirement taken in the final academic term of the undergraduate degree and is assigned full class credits (3 to 4 hours in the U.S.) and a letter grade, and spans the length of the academic term.[14] The capstone is also variously known as Senior Thesis, Undergraduate Thesis, Senior Capstone, Final Project, Final Dissertation, Signature Work, Culminating Experience, Final Exhibition, Senior Seminar, etc. Based on the considerations that follow, the Association of American Colleges & Universities considers the capstone to be the crown jewel of liberal higher education curriculum. “When done well, capstone and signature work projects represent liberal education at its best—helping students become critical thinkers skilled in analysis and argument.”[28]

The capstone aims to “connect, deepen, and generalize learning beyond the immediate setting where it occurs” into a meaningful whole by addressing a complex problem or project that may or may not be centered in the student’s major. Under faculty guidance, emphasis is on sophisticated cognitive, problem-solving that “requires the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies across a variety of academic and social activities, and integration of these diverse experiences into a meaningful whole.”[15] Additional outcomes that are claimed for the capstone include synthesizing and organizing ideas, the development of proficiency in written communication, and practice in the use of imaginative and creative thinking. In the process, learning that has taken place in the duration of the major is integrated and applied with the use of available theoretical and methodological premises, concepts, and tools.[16]

Interdisciplinary Capstones:
Capstone projects come in different forms, but our interest is in the type that concludes with a major research paper. Some capstones in this category are focused on issues related to the specific undergraduate major, requiring the student to apply knowledge and skills gained from all areas of the major to address the chosen problem. Another type of capstone that involves extensive research and concludes with a major research paper is interdisciplinary. Interdisciplinary capstones reflect the complexity of real world problems and demand problem-solving, analytical, and critical thinking skills and the writing proficiency needed to effectively communicate such cognitive effort.[17] Often centered around a controversy, interdisciplinary capstones require the student to venture into territory that might be initially unfamiliar with the guidance of research and analytical methods overseen by a faculty supervisor or mentor.[18] When a controversial capstone topic is unfamiliar to the student, orientation and familiarity with the topic is attained with systematic literature review and analysis of the historical, legal, policy, moral and technological records of the controversy.

Capstone Topic:
The topic of the capstone can be assigned by the department or chosen by the student. In some institutions the topic may focus on an issue within the degree.[19] In others, it could focus on a contemporary controversial social issue with interdisciplinary components.[20] This is the model that is of interest here because factors that make up the controversial issue determine the scope of inquiry and analyses, not disciplinary boundaries. Interdisciplinary capstones based on controversial issues also allow greater outlet for learning, creativity, and risk taking.

Capstone Process:
Like other capstones that involve research and writing, the social-controversy-based interdisciplinary capstone requires the student to conduct rigorous library research and documentation. Upon the choice or assignment of the controversial topic, the process begins with a written proposal that summarizes the controversy, identifies the main parties and stakeholders, lays out the tentative parameters of the research, and offers the student’s tentative goals, conclusion, and impact on stakeholders. These positions are subject to revision based on later findings and or feedback from the faculty supervisor in the semester-long project. As with the other written steps of the project, bibliographic citation and documentation is required. The proposal is then submitted to the faculty supervisor who grades it and returns it to the student with written feedback. A meeting with the faculty supervisor is also often involved.

After this initial stage, the student then proceeds with the main part of the project which consists of a review of the historical origins of the issue, key concepts that separate opposing parties as well as relevant scientific, logical, social, legal, political and institutional positions and evaluation of their moral and ethical bases. A conclusion with recommendations and a defense of the conclusion is also required. This is to take place in writing that is well documented with footnotes and bibliography of academic and professional sources. During this stage, the frequency of meetings with the faculty supervisor varies by institution. To conclude this stage, a well-documented research paper of minimum length and minimum number of references is submitted for grading and commentary by the faculty guide. The student will then make the suggested revisions, which may be few or extensive. Depending on the institution[21], a field research that involves interviews with experts and practitioners may be conducted with a list of questions to test the student’s conclusion in the real world. Any divergence of field research results from the student’s conclusion has to be reconciled also in writing. The transcript of the field research is then submitted along with the revised main research paper for grading. Some institutions may also require oral presentations at different stages of the process or a single presentation at the end with an audience of student peers and supervising faculty that may require the student to provide oral, clarifying answers.

Numerous cognitive benefits have been claimed for capstone projects in general and especially for the interdisciplinary variety. Among them:

Capstone Integration:
“As students see how the content of one knowledge area relates to that of others, they begin to make connections, and in so doing they gain not only a more integrated view of knowledge, but also a more authentic view of life”[22] Meaning is given to isolated facts, putting them in perspective. Connections are made across disciplines, “placing the specialties in larger context, illuminating data in a revealing way, and often educating non-specialists, too.”[23]

Discovery and interpretation:
The scholarship of integration also means interpretation, fitting one’s own research findings into larger intellectual patterns in ways that provide a larger, more comprehensive understanding. The questions raised in the process must be addressed with critical analysis and interpretation. Such questions have a legitimacy of their own and if carefully pursued can lead the student from information to knowledge and even, perhaps, to wisdom.[24]

Interdisciplinary capstones are said to “promote the coherence and relevance of general education.”[25]

Knowledge application:
The application of knowledge moves toward engagement as the student asks, “How can knowledge be responsibly applied to consequential problems? How can it be helpful to individuals as well as institutions?”[26]

Writing and communication:
Capstone courses that involve a major research paper have the additional benefit of extensive writing that must meet the standards of the academic institution. The written presentation at different stages of the research for evaluation by the faculty supervisor and feedback is also an ongoing opportunity for the student to correct and enhance written communication skills and derive additional benefits. As noted by Janet Emig in her seminal observations, writing is a powerful learning strategy. Writing to document, interpret, integrate and analyze the discoveries of library research for problem-solving purposes facilitates the acquisition of new knowledge and its synthesis for critical thinking.[27]


Based on the rigorous demands of the faculty supervised capstone, the claimed benefits for the student appear logical and self-evident. But the capstone course is usually taken only once in the undergraduate program, often in the last term/semester of the program. In effect, it is only more “icing on the cake” for students from the cultures of developed countries. There is no evidence that capstone courses taken in local or overseas higher education institutions subsequently caused graduates to outperform their peers as managers, administrators, or entrepreneurs in developing countries. So, the benefits of the single capstone, if there are any, are confined to the topic of the capstone. In the terminology of our analysis, a single capstone course may broaden and reinforce some of the rules of the “grammar” of the economic model. But explicitly learning the grammatical rules and words of a foreign language by an adult is insufficient for achieving proficiency in the use of the language. Likewise, the single capstone course is insufficient to connect explicit or technical learning to the implicit knowledge of the economic model, and is a drop in the bucket of what is actually needed. No matter how well administered and supervised, a single capstone course is too meager to close the Implicit Knowledge Gap, and is grossly insufficient to cause the individual to implement technical knowledge with the versatility of the language faculty on a continuous basis as expatriates do and as seen in developed countries.

Detailed Description of The Implicit Curriculum of Higher Education


By Samuel A. Odunsi, Sr.


The purpose of the Implicit Curriculum of Higher Education is to connect the technical or explicit knowledge of the economic model to its implicit knowledge, which is the human language faculty. The most ambitious objectives of liberal education will thereby be routinely met.


The Implicit Curriculum accomplishes this goal mainly by subjecting the student to 40 research projects over a period of 3 to 4 years using the resources of higher education. Each of the 40 research projects will entail the steps and rigor of a well supervised interdisciplinary capstone course.


The Implicit Curriculum is reserved for higher education only because the skills and cognitive maturity of secondary education are required for the demands of the curriculum. Applicants must pass a test of basic skills to qualify.


Research projects are to be evenly distributed over the duration of the program with no fewer than 5 projects to be simultaneously undertaken and completed in each of the eight terms or semesters in a 4-year program. More projects per term or more terms per year will be required to complete the 40 courses in a 3-year program. Also, each research project must have a unique faculty supervisor. That is, the same faculty supervisor cannot oversee more than 1 project for a given student in a single semester term.


The Implicit Curriculum is a full-time residential higher education program that requires the facilities and full resources of a local higher education institution in its establishment and implementation. The Implicit Curriculum is intended to replace in full the existing undergraduate higher education curriculum in the manner that the Trivium[29] constituted general higher education in the Europe of old. A faculty supervised capstone course is usually assigned full class credits of at least 3 hours plus a letter grade.[30] Likewise, each research course in the Implicit Curriculum is to be assigned full class credit plus a letter grade. The completion of the 40 research projects will be the equivalent of the total number of credit hours required to obtain an undergraduate degree in conventional undergraduate programs. Contemporary professional or vocational training in higher education has limited value in a developing country because it goes begging or is severely underemployed without effective managerial leadership to supervise efficient work. For this reason, professional training is deferred to after the completion of the Implicit Curriculum, in the manner of the Quadrivium.[31] Such optional professional training in higher education will then only need to consist of the core curriculum of the vocation, thereby taking a shorter time to complete.


Topics for Implicit Curriculum research projects are policy-related and must address a current controversial issue in society under the broad categories of business, national security, governance and policy making, freedom and human rights, health, environment, science, technology, and more. Administration of the Implicit Curriculum must ensure that each student covers a diversity of categories with no duplication of topic over the duration of the program. During 40 projects, the student will be required to investigate, analyze, and render executive level decisions in all categories.


As with standard interdisciplinary capstone courses that are well administered, the analysis and presentation of the topic will assume that the faculty supervisor is unfamiliar with the topic. So, enough information and analysis must be contained in written presentations to convince the faculty supervisor that a fact-based, logical, coherent, and morally acceptable case that meets minimum standards is being made about the controversy. It is unlikely that a student will be familiar with or have prior knowledge of each controversial subject of research. Nevertheless, orientation and familiarity with the topic or greater knowledge of the topic will be established by the required research steps that include a literature review of the background of the controversy, the historical, legal, political, moral, scientific and technological aspects of the controversy, and a critique of the positions held by parties to the controversy. These findings will serve as the bases of the student’s analyses, conclusions, and final recommendations.


All the topics of Implicit Curriculum research projects for a given developing country will concern controversies occurring in a single developed country and analyzed with the goal of implementing the student’s conclusion in the developed country. This condition is required for a single reason that can be stated in at least the following ways:

  1. A developing country is a Western-style economy that is not working as well as a Western economy or as well as the economies of the few Asian countries that have successfully implemented the Western economic model. Development is the result when the ideas and concepts of the economic model are effectively implemented on a consistent basis and underdevelopment is the result when they are not. Hence, the primary focus of the Implicit Curriculum is on how the economic model works in developed countries, not its improper operation in developing countries.
  2. The defining characteristic of persistent underdevelopment is a widespread and permanent shortage of the managerial and entrepreneurial leadership necessary for organizing, maintaining, and increasing the productivity of human capital and material resources as well as the developed countries. Higher education is the incubator for leadership that will implement the economic model as effectively as it is done in developed countries, not how it is ineffectively done in developing countries.
  3. The best iteration of economic success for a developing country is the standard seen in developed countries. A developing country is underdeveloped to the degree by which its operation, as a whole and in detail, does not meet the standards of the Western-style economy that it is. The more its efficiency differs from the standards of the developed countries, the more underdeveloped the country is.[32]

The developed country of choice for the Implicit Curriculum may be determined by the language used locally for conducting higher education. For instance, countries with English as the official language can choose among the English speaking developed countries, and those with French or Spanish as the official language can choose among French or Spanish speaking developed countries.


The ideal implementation of the Implicit Curriculum requires faculty supervision of research projects to be performed by faculty members operating in the research geographic area. This will be done through the internet. The duties of the faculty supervisor include all the standard faculty supervisor duties listed for capstone research projects. Performing such duties may include all forms of internet communication. The academics operating in the research geographic area are best situated to effectively guide the ideas and expressions of the student in research projects for consistency with best practices about the economic model in the developed country of choice. This online collaboration by local universities with overseas ones does not preclude the participation of local faculty in ancillary capacities for the Implicit Curriculum. Local faculty must still be available for professional studies anyway.

The use of the internet in a developing country to facilitate supervision by faculty situated in a developed country should not suggest that the Implicit Curriculum is an online program. Again, the Implicit Curriculum is a full-time residential higher education program that requires the facilities and full resources of local higher education institutions in its establishment and implementation. Collaboration with academia in developed countries can be gradually phased out as the graduates of the Implicit Curriculum become available as instructors, after making their mark in the economy and if they choose to participate. The effectiveness of the Implicit Curriculum is not guaranteed if the main faculty supervision duties are provided by local faculty members instead of higher education faculty in developed countries.


In addition to 40 full-fledged capstone-quality research courses, there are also mandatory enrichment courses for the Implicit Curriculum that will be graded on student participation, quizzes, short tests, and the completion of moderate homework assignments. Enrichment courses will be held at scheduled class times with the supervision of local faculty members and will last for up to 2 hours per day of school time that could be broken into shorter periods in the school day. Enrichment courses have these purposes.

  1. Integrate, through discussion, research findings with local issues. Distinguish superficial trends and sentiments in developed countries from the essential aspects of the economic model. Practice adaptive and contingent problem solving. Here, the effectiveness, historical origins, justification, and the moral and legal bases of institutions and organizations in the developed country are compared with their local equivalents in the context of the details of research topics. Outcome is to cultivate and exercise, using local situations, the diagnostic perspective of the economic model that the main research program is generating in the student.
  2. Focus students’ attention inward with reflection activities that may include discussions about the effect of new findings and discoveries by students on their perspectives about specific aspects of the economic model; newly noticed patterns or perceived regularities in the operation of the economic model; the evolution or revolution of previously held views in the face of new information and knowledge; generate questions that may require further investigation to be discussed in subsequent class meetings, etc.
  3. Thoroughly familiarize students with broad contemporary knowledge in the natural sciences and mathematics.
  4. Enhance practical knowledge and skills including quantitative skills, advanced technological literacy, and communication and leadership skills.

Enrichment courses also include guest lectures, video presentations, debates, hands-on projects and activities, interactive computer simulations, and moderate homework.


Proof of the effectiveness of the Implicit Curriculum is to be found only in the performance of graduates. That is, how effectively graduates perform when compared to the developed countries and to the expatriates from developed countries that already operate in their midst. Nevertheless, how the Implicit Curriculum works to yield the desired outcome can be explained in two ways. The first is with conventional explanations. The second is with what is known about the human language faculty.


A single faculty-supervised capstone-quality research course requires the student to make multiple executive level decisions that cover different aspects of a controversy in the economic model. This is done with analyses of findings in library research and literature review, and expressed in writing. As mentioned, the Association of American Colleges & Universities considers a single well-administered capstone project to be the epitome of the liberal education mantra, because it helps students become critical thinkers skilled in analysis and argument.”[33] When repeated 40 times for 40 diverse major topics in the 3 to 4 year duration of the program, the student will accumulate a wide and deep knowledge-base of the quantitative and qualitative structure of the economic model and become familiar with the state-of-the-art in its organization and operation.

This prodigious accumulation of knowledge, whose factual and logical accuracy is vetted by faculty supervision, goes to build in the student a useful mental representation of the structure of the economic model, and a sharpened awareness of the availability of resources, how to effectively deploy resources, and how to improvise without adequate resources. At the same time, the analytical demands of the curriculum engenders a tacit feel for how the elements of the economic model interact, how they should interact, and how they could interact for better outcomes. In the process, the student becomes usefully aware of his or her limitations for solving problems in the economic model. This means that he or she has developed instinctive strategies for understanding, interpreting, and navigating the economic model. Inadequate information for solving problems is easily identified or anticipated and compensated for. The student is thereby enabled to contingently postulate much of what they should know, even in unfamiliar circumstances, equipped with the skills to verify the accuracy of deductions as necessary.

Also, the Implicit Curriculum embodies the critical elements of all major learning theories and applies their main premises simultaneously and to the greatest extent over the 3 to 4 years of the higher education program. Examples include:

Socratic Learning.[34] This theory considers the use of reasoning, logic, and critical thinking as most effective for learning. The Implicit Curriculum is, by definition, the sustained engagement in such activities over many years. For each research project in the Implicit Curriculum, the philosophical and moral positions of the parties to a controversy are presented in historical context along with the technologies, systems, costs, and policies in contention. The details are to be analyzed and synthesized to form a coherent argument in a narrative that terminates with logical conclusions and recommendations. These exercises in critical thinking, reasoning, and logic are to be repeated over 40 research projects that individually meet the minimum standards of a faculty supervised capstone course.

Behaviorist Learning Theory.[35] This theory rejects internal mental states in favor of environmental stimuli as the determinant of observable human behavior. Fine. The Implicit Curriculum provides much external stimuli, the abundance of which is the source of information that is converted by the student into knowledge through the research, analytical, and writing steps. For each research project, the Implicit Curriculum requires the student to locate, study, and cite diverse literature. Then integrate and re-express findings in his or her own written words to present the origins and history of the controversy, a critique of the positions held by opposing sides, and to formulate and defend a solution. This torrent of stimuli, synthesizing analyses and writing over years of study, and vetting by faculty supervision, will significantly expand the student’s knowledge base of the economic model and how it works.

Constructivist Learning Theory.[36]This theory emphasizes the need to respect individual complexity and uniqueness in the learning process. The benefits of personalized instruction and learning in education have long been touted but the conduct of instruction has hardly changed. Schools, for instance, still teach and test largely by subject areas as opposed to their synthesis in the real world. Until now, there has been little opportunity to economically implement individualized learning that’s tailored by default to each student like the Implicit Curriculum does. The Implicit Curriculum is the constructivist theory in its purest form because effectively connecting technical knowledge of the economic model to the language faculty is a uniquely acquired understanding of phenomena by the student that must prove accurate in practice. Faculty supervision at every step of each project ensures that accuracy. Through 40 projects over 4 years, such accurate expressions become instinctual. The research and analytical tasks of the Implicit Curriculum and their presentation in writing are active modes of learning. For each research project, the student is required to independently conduct the literature review, analysis, and writing which must meet minimum higher education standards. In this manner, the student builds their own meanings and mental structures which have to be reconciled with prior individual understanding and beliefs about how the economic model works.

Neuroscience.[37] The mechanics of the Implicit Curriculum are consistent with the concept of “memory consolidation.” The Curriculum requires the student to continually address, over several years, different complex issues and their components, to resolve them with informed analyses and logic, and to express these activities in writing for vetting by faculty supervision. Over time, the student will independently decipher analytical and problem-solving patterns or regularities in the economic model that are generally applicable or that can be adapted as modules for agile decision making. The observations are unique to the student and will consist of extensive implicit aspects that cannot be verbalized. This deciphering of patterns is consistent with the neurological premises of “long-term potentiation” and “neural plasticity,” whereby efficient ways of conceiving the economic model are developed, thoroughly exercised, and made permanent with repetitive use over the course of the Implicit Curriculum.


The ability to use language stands separate from human-defined linguistic principles and theories because such conceptions are not required for people to learn the use of their native tongue. Furthermore, linguistic conceptions alone have not proven sufficient to teach a person from zero to use language. The opportunity to do so simply has not existed, since people learn to use language from childhood among other people. Similarly, the human ability to use the language faculty to instinctively implement the economic model stands separate from any theory or principle that claims to explain how it works. No matter how brief or elaborate, the explanation would still be a theory in the same way that the most profound conceptions about language are theories that cannot be falsified. So, as with language, the Implicit Curriculum works, and explanations about how it works are merely adornments for the phenomenon.

Nevertheless, the Implicit Curriculum works by connecting explicit or technical knowledge to the individual’s language faculty. The language faculty is the implicit knowledge of language. It is also the implicit knowledge of the economic model. In the same way that people learn to use a second or foreign language by subjecting it to their existing implicit knowledge of language, the economic model is subjected to the governance of the language faculty by simply connecting both. Once the connection is made, technical knowledge becomes subject to the recursive governance of the language faculty. As noted earlier, recursion in spoken language refers to the ability of humans to generate an infinite number of expressions in their native tongue from a finite set of internalized examples. It also refers to how people correctly interpret an infinite number of expressions from others who share their language.[38] For the economic model, recursion is the ability to consistently interpret the economic model correctly and respond with expressions that create results measurable as effective management, administration, entrepreneurship, or innovation.

Even in a classroom, the competent use of a foreign language cannot be directly learned or taught. It can only be “acquired” by the student. As explained by Stephen Kashen, competence in a foreign language “emerges” in the student through the provision of a large amount of “comprehensible input.” This is input about the use of the language that is understood by the student. As that happens, the language faculty automatically provides the grammar required to competently express and interpret the language. With a steady supply of comprehensible input, acquisition of the language becomes “inevitable, unavoidable, and cannot be prevented.”[39] The only constraint in this process is that the student must be receptive to learning the language or open to comprehensive input.[40] But that is not applicable to the Implicit Curriculum because what is being acquired in the Curriculum is not spoken language and the student is already competent in the language of instruction.

The Implicit Curriculum uses the same process to close the Implicit Knowledge Gap. Each project involves discovering, organizing, and analyzing new information about the economic model. The findings are then synthesized for conclusions and recommendations that meet the standards of a capstone project. Through these steps, research findings or how the economic model works become integrated with existing knowledge. Repeated over 40 projects for different topics, the Implicit Curriculum supplies so much comprehensible input over 3 to 4 years that the integration of explicit knowledge of the economic model with its implicit knowledge–the language faculty–is inevitable, unavoidable, and cannot be prevented. The Implicit Knowledge Gap is thereby closed.

A corollary of closing the Implicit Knowledge Gap is that the student has developed a permanent but unconscious diagnostic perspective of the economic model. When we’re proficient in a language, we often accurately express thought with speech in that language as fast as it comes to mind and also tend to immediately correct misspoken utterances.[41] In addition to this compulsive intolerance for the misuse of language, we also frequently understand incoming messages that contain unfamiliar or “unacquired grammar” by interpreting them in context.[42] This suggests that the language faculty has inherent hygiene standards or diagnostic filtering properties or frame of reference which ensure the correct use of a language at all times. It has been proposed (for a slightly different reason) that such a frame of reference or mental model consists of first, knowledge about the components of the language explicitly learned by the individual and second, the unconscious knowledge of the proper use of language supplied by the language faculty.[43]

It is assumed that the same unconscious diagnostic filtering mechanism that is intolerant to disorder is responsible at the individual level for the spontaneous, yet often accurate expression of the economic model seen in developed countries and among their expatriate diaspora. But this time the frame of reference for the filter is a combination of knowledge about the economic model and the organizing ability of the language faculty. When there is no Implicit Knowledge Gap and explicit knowledge is integrated with implicit knowledge in the individual, as shown in Figure 2, a permanent unconscious diagnostic perception or filter of the economic model exists. This filter is averse to disorder in the expression of the economic model. It compels the individual to notice existing and potential flaws, problems, or needs in their area of interest for the purpose of fixing or improving them. Maintaining such trouble-shooting and problem-solving vigilance of the economic model on a permanent basis is too demanding to be a matter of conscious will. Instead, it is an unconscious instinct. Coupled with motivational attributes such as ambition, drive, and other unique personality traits, the diagnostic filter is expressed by individuals as standard to outstanding levels of competence in managerial, entrepreneurial, innovative, and creative pursuits. So, even without competitive pressure, relatively stable systems of infrastructure, administration, and production in developed countries are subject to at least effective technical upkeep and anticipatory maintenance, if not routine innovative and productivity enhancements, thanks to the diagnostic perspective.


  1. Association of American Colleges & Universities, “What is Liberal Education?” 
  2. Kathleen Haney, “The Liberal Arts and the End of Education,” 
  3. Henry Braun, “The Cognitive Outcomes of Liberal Education,” The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, (January 2019), 
  4. Ibid. 
  5. Ibid. 
  6. Henry Braun, “The Cognitive Outcomes of Liberal Education,” The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, (January 2019), 
  7. ACTA, “What Will They Learn? A Survey of Core Requirements at our Nation’s Colleges and Universities,” (American Council of Trustees and Alumni, 2010), 
  8. Kara A. Godwin, “The Worldwide Emergence of Liberal Education” International Higher Education No,79: (Winter 2015): 2-4, 
  9. Henry Braun, “The Cognitive Outcomes of Liberal Education,” The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, (January 2019), 
  10. Thomas H. Huxley and Ada L. Snell, Autobiography and Selected Essays by Thomas Henry Huxley, (Cambridge, Boston: The Riverside Press, 1909, 2010), 43. 
  11. The Task Force on Higher Education and Society, Higher Education in Developing Countries. Peril and Promise (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2000), 39-40. 
  12. Jillian Kinzie, “Taking Stock of Capstones and Integrative Learning”, Peer Review 15, No.4 Association of American Colleges & Universities (Fall 2013) 
  13. David Paris and Ann Ferren, “How Students, Faculty, and Institutions Can Fulfill the Promise of Capstones.” Association of American Colleges & Universities, 
  14. Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment at Skidmore College.“Capstone Courses.” Accessed February 20, 2019. 
  15. Jillian Kinzie, “Taking Stock of Capstones and Integrative Learning”, Peer Review 15, No.4 Association of American Colleges & Universities (Fall 2013) 
  16. “Capstones & Signature Work,” Association of American Colleges & Universities, accessed January 8, 2019, 
  17. Jeffrey Coker and Evan Gatti, “Interdisciplinary Capstones for All Students,” Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education 5, No. 2 (2017), 
  18. Robert C. Hauhart and Jan E. Grahe, “The Undergraduate Capstone Course in the Social Sciences: Results from a Regional Survey,” American Sociological Association 38, (1) (2010): 4-17. 
  19. Tyson Schritter, “Capstone Courses: What and Why,” Colleges of Distinction, March 18, 2019, 
  20. Duke University Libraries, “ICS Capstone Seminar: Formulating a Research Question.” Accessed September 1, 2019. Edward’s University Department of University Studies, “Capstone Course.” Accessed February 6, 2019. 
  21. St. Edward’s University Department of University Studies, “Capstone Course.” Accessed February 6, 2019. 
  22. Jeffrey Coker and Evan Gatti, “Interdisciplinary Capstones for All Students,” Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education 5, No. 2 (2017), 2. 
  23. Ernest L. Boyer, Scholarship Reconsidered. Priorities of the Professoriate (The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1990), 18, 
  24. Ernest L. Boyer, Scholarship Reconsidered. Priorities of the Professoriate (The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1990), 20, 
  25. Jeffrey Coker and Evan Gatti, “Interdisciplinary Capstones for All Students,” Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education 5, No. 2 (2017), 2. 2017. 
  26. Ernest L. Boyer, Scholarship Reconsidered. Priorities of the Professoriate (The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1990), 21, 
  27. Janet Emig, “Writing as a Mode of Learning,” College Composition and Communication 28, No. 2. (May, 1977): 122-128, 
  28. Association of American Colleges & Universities. “Capstones & Signature Work.” Accessed Sep 21, 2019. 
  29. Murphy, J.J. Rhetoric in the Middle Ages:A History of the Rhetorical Theory from Saint Augustine to the Renaissance. University of California Press, Ltd. 2001 
  30. Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment at Skidmore College.“Capstone Courses.” Bassler, et al., “Independent Work in Molecular Biology, A Guide to the JP and Senior Thesis,” 2015-2016, p.14. 
  31. Murphy, J.J. Rhetoric in the Middle Ages:A History of the Rhetorical Theory from Saint Augustine to the Renaissance. University of California Press, Ltd. 2001 
  32. Samuel Odunsi, Sr., The Failure of University Education for Development and What to Teach Instead (Zaragon Books, 2016). 
  33. “Capstones & Signature Work,” Association of American Colleges & Universities, accessed January 8, 2019, 
  34. Leonard Nelson and Thomas K. Brown III, Socratic Method and Critical Philosophy (Yale University Press, 1949). 
  35. Abram Amsel, Behaviorism, Neobehaviorism, and Cognitivism in Learning Theory: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. (Lawrence Eribaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ, 1989). 
  36. Anne Brockbank and Ian McGill, Facilitating Reflective Learning in Higher Education (Open University Press, 2007). 
  37. Cristina M. Alberini, Memory Reconsolidation (Elsevier Academic Press, 2013). 
  38. Noam Chomsky, Language and Mind. Third Edition., Cambridge University Press, NY, 2006 
  39. Stephen D. Krashen, The Input Hypothesis: Issues and Implications (New York: Longman Press, 1985): 80. 
  40. Ibid, p.80. 
  41. Ibid. 
  42. Ibid. 
  43. Ibid., p.79. 
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