- Incidental learning is some form of indirect / additional / unplanned learning within an informal or formal learning situation. (DSchneider).
- Incidental learning is also referred to as random learning, the latter term is used by UNESCO: “Random learning refers to unintentional learning occurring at any time and in any place, in everyday life” (UNESCO, 2005, p. 4). Incidental (random) learning is characterized as unorganized, unstructured and unintentional. This sets it apart from informal learning (using UNESCO's terms), which is intentional.
- While we learn 'formally' only in some very specific situations and periods of our life (school, training), incidental and informal learning are much more important for most of the skills and knowledge we learn during the vast majority of life. (R. Borer)
- Sandra Kerka's (2000) definition:
Here is an example that shows the difference between incidental and informal learning provided by a commentator of this page: “ Lifelong learners may attend organized and structured courses (non-formal education) or learn a foreign language from a private tutor (informal learning), both being intentional. This is different from incidentally discovering how to open a .zip file, while downloading learning material from the Internet.”
Incidental learning in education
- There are strategies to favor incidental learning
Simulation / gaming architectures
Frete (2002:92:93) quoting Roger Schank:
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- Frete, Cathérine (2002), Le potentiel du jeu vidéo pour l'éducation, TECFA, Université de Genpve, Mémoire en vue de l'obtention du DESS STAF PDF
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- Kerka, Sandra 2000, Trends and Issues 2000 Alert No.18, Incidental learning PDF. (This is a very good overview article)
- Jones, T. Incidental learning during information retrieval: a hypertext experiment.
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- Schank, Roger, C. & Ch. Cleary (1995). Engines for Education, Lawrence Erlbaum Ass. Publishers Hillsdale NJ, pp. 95-105 (Incidental learning chapter).
- Stangl, W (2004) Latentes, passives, implizites, inzidentelles oder informelles Lernen.
- UNESCO (2005). NFE-MIS Handbook. Developing a Sub-National Non-Formal Education Management Information System. Module 1. Paris: UNESCO, Division of Basic Education.