Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

2012 Edition
| Editors: Norbert M. Seel

Intentional Learning

  • Patrick BlumscheinEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_37

In contrast to latent or incidental learning, intentional learning is generally defined as learning that is motivated by intentions and is goal directed. Intentional learning gained particular attention as a result of the seminal work of Bereiter and Scardamalia (1989) on computer-supported intentional learning environments.

Bereiter and Scardamalia ( 1989) point out that they use the term intentional learning “to refer to cognitive processes that have learning as a goal rather than an incidental outcome” (p. 363). Intentional learning emphasizes the consciousness of learning. It addresses the content of learning and its end product, as well as the learning process itself. The former issue involves the learner’s intrinsic motivation to work through the content and to reach the goals of learning. The latter issue, on the other hand, entails focusing on those cognitive processes that have learning as a goal.

All experience … can have learning as an incidental outcome, but only some...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bereiter, C., & Scardamalia, M. (1989). Intentional learning as a goal of instruction. In L. B. Resnick (Ed.), Knowing, learning, and instruction: Essays in honor of Robert Glaser (pp. 361–392). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of EducationFreiburgGermany