"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle
Here's another recent publication relevant to 'unconscious' learning. In this latest study in Nature (sorry, not free online access yet), researchers found a surprising degree of unconscious learning ability in patients with severe amnestic memory problems. The first link below is to the press release.
We take in enormous quantities of information through our senses and movements, but although a lot of information is filtered, what gets through is then sorted into conscious and unconscious patterns. So when we act on the unconscious patterns, we may not be completely aware of it.
Implicit learning refers to unintentional learning - and this can be powerfully manipulated in education. After first handling, experiencing, or playing with materials, guided questioning is used to make implicit learning explicit.
Habit Leads To Learning
Unconscious Elementary Math Learning
Mathemagenic: Implicit Learning
Making the Implicit Explicit
Reber Dissociating Explicit and Implicit... pdf