Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

2012 Edition
| Editors: Norbert M. Seel

Incremental Learning

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_2216

The term “incremental learning” is often used for sequential or constructive learning in contrast to batch or epoch learning (Bertsekas and Tsitsiklis 1996). Incremental learning is based on the principle of starting with simple and basic principles before advancing to more complex information. Incremental learning happens in bits and pieces, and successful retention of knowledge is based upon previously attained knowledge. As a style of acquiring knowledge and skills, the concept of incremental learning can be found in psychology as well as in machine learning and refers to situations where input data come only in sequence, and a timely updating model is crucial for actions.

In psychology, the term “incremental learning” can be traced back to Thorndike but can also be found in more recent theories of how people learn (e.g., Bransford et al. 2000). However, the term “incremental learning” plays an important role also in the field of machine learning which includes algorithms for...

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