Sunday, January 28, 2007

Informal Learning in 10 minutes

One of the aspects of learning, which are proven to be important but are lacking attention is Informal learning.

Wikipedia defines Informal learning as:

Informal learning is to be understood as unorganized and not formally defined learning at home and at work. It is how you learned to speak. Some people say it is the basic "natural" self-learning of human beings, characterized as follows:

• It does not take place in special educational establishments standing out from normal life and professional practice;

• it has no curriculum and is not professionally organized but rather originates accidentally, sporadically, in association with certain occasions, from changing practical requirement situations;

• it is not planned pedagogically conscious, systematically according to subjects, test and qualification-oriented, but rather unconsciously incidental, holistically problem-related, and related to situation management and fitness for life;

• It is not unrealistic stockpile-learning, but is experienced directly in its "natural" function as a tool for living and survival.

Maybe it is not popular because the educational companies cannot make enough money out of it? And schools find it hard to discuss there own importance and role in the learning process? I'm not sure. Of course the kind of paradox is that you cannot really structure and organize informal learning because the pitfall is that it becomes formal learning when you institutionalize it. But I think it is worth thinking about ways to facilitate informal learning. Web 2.0 tools can play an important role in this process. To be honest: I'm learning more from podcasts, edublogs, reading books and conversations than with formal courses. What about you?

One of the people who are working in the field of informal learning is Jay Cross. I met him a few times and he can make his point clear. Watch his 10-minute video or visit his website on informal learning.

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