Creating learning opportunities: informal learningJohn CookLearning Technology Research InstituteLondon Metropolitan University
Structure of workshop (90 mins)Brief introduction (15 minutes)Break down into groups (30 minutes)Discuss one or more of questions (negotiate with John so we get coverage)Appoint someone to make notes and report backEach group report back (15 minutes)Discuss issues raised (25 minutes)John pulls out main conclusions (5 minutes)
Informal learningPeople are now averaging about 15 hours a week on informal learning (Livinstone, 2000)EmploymentHouseworkCommunity work General interestsYet very little of this informal learning is supported by e-learning.
ParentRugby union fanKidsCETL Ops ManagerPrincipal Research FellowStudentSelf taught bassplayerPhD students
JohnPlay5 aside footballFormal vs informalPeelBassB&A
No single definition Informal LearningAttributes of informality and formality (Colley, Hodkinson, et al., 2003) location/settingprocesspurpose content
Non-formala tutor knows about itInformalunder the radar or self-motivated
Questions for group discussion (1)Is there a distinction between life-long learning and informal learning?
Does informal learning vary across the difference sectors, e.g. HE, FE, Adult and Community Learning, in the workplace?
More questions (2)Measuring learning in informal contexts cannot be easily linked to outcomes, but to perceptions of outcomes?
How can we measure informal learning? Do we want to measure informal learning?
Yet more questions (3)One problem is that a large section of people are not getting the opportunity to use digital media for informal or indeed formal learning opportunities and are hence being digitally excluded. How can we design digital media that plugs into the motivations and emotional states of 'real people' in a way that empowers them? Is there a linkage between the digital divide and the learning divide?
What did we find out?
Conclusions?informal learningvocationaltraining specific skills courseacademic coursevocational qualificationNon-formal learninginformal learningSee Cook and Smith (2004) for further reading orhttp://www.londonmet.ac.uk/ltri/research/informal.htm
ReferencesColley, H., Hodkinson, P. and Malcom, J. (2002). Non-Formal Learning: Mapping the Conceptual Terrain. A Consultation Report, Lifelong Learning Institute, University of Leeds, November 2002.Cook, J. and Smith, M. (2004). Beyond Formal Learning: Informal Community eLearning. Computers and Education, CAL03 Special Issue, 43(1-2), 35-47. Livingstone, D. W. (2000). Exploring the Icebergs of Adult Learning: Findings of the First Canadian Survey of Informal Learning Practices. NALL Working Paper #10-2000, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.
Acknowledgement: Aileen Ackland, Shalni Gulati. Walter S. Arnold granted me permission for gargoyle photos to be used in talk and handout, see http://www.stonecarver.com/gargoyles/