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More on informal learning

September 17th, 2007 by Graham Attwell

Sorry for the lack of entries lately. In the middle of a big re-organisation of Pontydysgu. Many greetings to Peter who has joined us to run the administration. And Dirk is working hard on the launch of our new website. Meanwhile I am hurtling from meeting to meeting.

But there is still time for the odd post here. Some time ago I posted the following question on my Facebook page:

“How can we support informal learning?”

At least I thought I did. What I actually posted was “How can we support informal earning?” What a difference a consonant makes. Well, George Roberts answered the original question:

” I support informal earning through car boot sales and Russian MP3 download sites. CAVEAT: The support of informal earning is illegal, immoral and (I hear) the basis of the economy of Liverpool ;)”

And then I edited the question to my original intent.

Here is a summary of the answers. Thanks to all of you who contributed.

Scott Wilson

Stop hoarding stuff behind passwords and firewalls. Respect informal learning by universally supporting accreditation via APEL.

Jenny Hughes

Who’s ‘we’ ? And what informal learning are we supporting by whom? There’s quite a lot of informal learning I wouldn’t want to support, ditto a lot of informal learners

Cristina Costa

By creating, enhancing, developing and maintaining a learning environment where participants (not students!) are entitled to an opinion, stimulated to develop their own voice and share what they know while LEARNING what they want to learn!

Steve Wheeler

By giving them licence to use more (any type of) social networking

George Roberts

Once it’s supported is it informal? John Cook proposed a continuum: informal (off the radar) via semi-formal to formal. I think “we” can support informal learning by doing formal learning as best we can: open, socially engaged, Freirian, learning-centred.

David Delgado

a) Making it easy to find useful resources for anyone in the organization

b) Making it easy to make connections among people in the organization and sharing their knowledge

c) Encouraging everyone to learn what he needs or likes most in their job

Stan Stanier

I’m with Terry – first we need to identify the what, how and when

Frances Bell

by letting the learner determine the context and content of the learning and then offering support appropriate to that.

Stuart A Yeates

(a) avoidance of over-specified prescriptive assessments

(b) promotion of quality engaging resources

Paul Harrington

I agree with Mr Wassall the first part of the exercise will be to observe how it is happening amongst the ‘digital natives’ ( don’t like the term) – then give them opportunities on our terms to use tech..

Terry Wassall

Good question! First we need to understand how informal learning takes place. Reflecting on and surfacing our own modes of informal learning would be a start, and there are probably many modes and contexts to consider. Then exploit this avoiding formality.

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