Incidental learning is some form of accidental / indirect / additional / unplanned learning within an informal or formal learning situation. (DSchneider). It's opposite is deliberate learning.
Sometimes, incidental learning is also used to describe informal learning, but that should be avoided since it could be deliberate - Daniel K. Schneider 19:09, 7 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.
- 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.”
2 Incidental learning in education
- this section needs work !
- There are strategies to favor incidental learning
2.1 Simulation / gaming architectures
- Simulations, Computer games, etc. may lead to incidental learning experiences.
Frete (2002:92:93) quoting Roger Schank:
- The trick is not to teach the facts at all, but rather to have the facts be along the way to getting to something the student naturally wanted to know in the first place. Using the Acquisition Hypothesis, we assume that how one learns a fact is as important as what fact one learns. Thus we should have students learn facts while engaged in a process similar to the one in which they will use the facts. We should use students' natural interest so they come across such facts incidentally, in the course of pursuing their interests.
- The first trick in employing the Incidental Learning Architecture is to find things that are inherently fun to do on a computer. This could be any good video game for example. The second trick is harder. What the student naturally wants to learn in the video game ought to be worth learning. The problem is to change the skills to be learned from hand-eye coordination tasks to content-based tasks, where one needs to know real information in order to accomplish one's goal on the computer. This will work well if there is a natural correlation between the content-based tasks and what is inherently fun."
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