A Model of Technology Incidental Learning Effects

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Educational Psychology Review
Increases in technology use, among youth and adults, are concerning given the volume of information produced and disseminated in the modern world. Conceptual models have been developed to understand how people manage the large volume of information encountered during intentional learning activities with technology. What, if anything, do people learn when they happen upon news and other information while using technology for purposes other than learning? Questions like this highlight the need to understand incidental learning, i.e., learning that occurs when people, who are pursuing a goal other than learning such as entertainment, encounter information that leads to a change in thinking or behavior. In this article, we integrate theory and research from multiple scholarly literatures into the Technology Incidental Learning Effects (TILE) model, which provides a framework for future research on how incidental learning occurs and what factors affect this process. Current research on incidental learning can be informed by educational psychology scholarship on dual-processing, motivation, interest, source evaluation, and knowledge reconstruction. The TILE model points to many promising future directions for research with direct implications for modern society, including the need to better understand how and why people move from merely noticing to engaging with incidentally exposed information as well as how to help people successfully manage the large amounts of information they encounter when using technology for purposes other than learning.
Greene, J.A., Copeland, D.Z. & Deekens, V.M. A Model of Technology Incidental Learning Effects. Educ Psychol Rev (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-020-09575-5