Learning Strategy: Passive Discovery


Passive Discovery allows students to learn more about new information and knowledge as an observer which may lead to changes in thought and behavior. This learning stems from being exposed to an object or situation, under circumstances which may incite further reflection or dialogue. This often takes place in an informal setting, whereby the stimulus is "happened upon."

Learning strategies this strategy can be confused with

  • Immersion: the differences include (1) immersion involves a choice to expose oneself deeply into a different culture or experience. The exposure is significant and involves active engagement in the surroundings, while (2) passive discovery involves unintentional exposure to the object, situation, or stimuli.
  • Lecture: the differences include (1) lectures may be received passively by the audience; however, there is an expectation of learning from the setting while (2) passive discovery is not a faciliated experience.
  • Gathering: the differences include (1) gathering includes informal interaction with others in social settings while (2) passive discovery occurs without social interaction.

Resources for using this strategy

Mintz, S. (2014). The Pedagogy of Discovery: 7 options for generating new knowledge. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/higher-ed-beta/pedagogy-discovery.

Memarovic, N., Langheinrich, M., Alt, F., Elhart, I., Hosio, S. & Rubegni, E. (2012). Using public displays to stimulate passive engagement, active engagement, and discovery in public spaces. MAB '12 Proceedings of the 4th Media Architecture Biennale Conference: Participation, 55-64. http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2421076.2421086

Examples at USD

  1. Bulletin boards, e.g., "Our Culture is not a Costume" Campaign
  2. Exhibit Hall Displays
  3. "The Clothesline Project"
  4. Social Media Campaigns, e.g., "You are USD"
  5. "Language Matters" Posters
  6. Social Norming Campaigns
  7. Digital display content

Rev. 6/15/17

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