Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

2012 Edition
| Editors: Norbert M. Seel

Incidental Learning

  • Steve W. KellyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_366



Incidental learning refers to any learning that is unplanned or unintended. It develops while engaging in a task or activity and may also arise as a by-product of planned learning. “Incidental learning” can imply that the acquisition of knowledge is unconscious in nature, though in contrast to implicit learning, there is no expectation that such knowledge should remain largely inaccessible to conscious awareness. However, note that some articles may refer to implicit learning tasks as incidental without making the above distinction. There is also a suggestion, mainly from an educational perspective, that incidental learning involves subsequent conscious reflection on material that was consciously noted at time of study but not recognized as relevant or useful.

Theoretical Background

Incidental learning features mainly in the...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK