Talk:Incidental learning

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1 Incidental Learning, definition -- Leonileo 14:39, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

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.

A memorandum on Lifelong Learning by the European Commission, however, refers to incidental (random) learning as 'informal learning' (EC, 2000, p. 8). This is unfortunate, as the following example shows:

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.


EC (2000). A Memorandum on Lifelong Learning. European Commission staff working paper SEC(2000) 1832. Brussels: European Commission.

UNESCO (2005). NFE-MIS Handbook. Developing a Sub-National Non-Formal Education Management Information System. Module 1. Paris: UNESCO, Division of Basic Education.

1.1 Re: Incidental Learning, definition -- Daniel K. Schneider 19:11, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Hi, yes you are right :) incidental should not be understood as informal - I fixed the text a bit...