Encyclopedia of Science Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Richard Gunstone

Learning Science in Informal Contexts

  • Lynn D. DierkingEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6165-0_299-2

Learning for Life

A growing body of evidence supports the assertion that learning occurs in settings and situations outside of school, as well as across time and a variety of settings (Falk and Dierking 2010). This increased appreciation of free-choice/informal learning is affording learners increasing choice and control and is a worldwide phenomenon. Although this type of learning has traditionally been referred to as informal learning, Falk and Dierking coined the term free-choice learning almost 20 years ago to capture the core idea behind this paradigm shift – a recognition that people not only learn every day throughout their lives but that learning is, first and foremost, a learner-centered, not an institution-centered, phenomenon. Free-choice learning is guided by a person’s needs and interests and is nonlinear, self-directed learning. People engage in free-choice learning throughout their lives to find out more about what is useful, compelling, or just plain interesting to...


Science Learning Lifelong Learning Broadcast Medium Library User Learning Infrastructure 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Science and Mathematics EducationColleges of Science and Education, Oregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA