Incidental Learning

Catherine Brown; Shelly Doolan

Conference Poster

1University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Alex Campus, Swansea, SA1 5AJ;

2University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Alex Campus, Swansea, SA1 5AJ;


As educators coming from a background of making, we understand the value and importance of incidental learning as a method of uncovering and conveying tacit knowledge. Current educational systems place huge emphasis on grades, assessment and league tables. This in addition to pressures on contact time and resources leaves little space for un-timetabled learning. Further changes include the emerging and yet to be fully understood impact of technology on learning. Our research responds to this changing educational landscape and seeks to develop strategies to encourage learning through ‘making’.

The poster will outline an approach that includes setting up workshop-based scenarios to enable student participation and observation of academic-practitioner work. This reflects the perceived value of immersive action-learning in the transfer of tacit and incidental knowledge associated with a skilled craft process. We will discuss ways to encourage the development of student skills of self-motivation, independent learning and creative insight. Through the informal workshops the sense of student educator hierarchy is challenged thus turning the tables on typical delivery.

The contention is that informal learning within the workshop environment promotes and encourages reflection on action and learning and enhances the students’ move towards a self-directed mode of study having assimilated knowledge and experimented and applied this knowledge through practice.