Global Classroom

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Top ten list #9: The power of informal and nonformal learning

ten-days-sm.pngSignificant learning occurs beyond formal education contexts. Today’s top ten list describes the power of informal and nonformal learning.

  1. Informal learning is learning by living – learning isn’t specifically planned, it simply occurs. Two examples of informal learning: 1) taking in what one observes while walking the streets; and 2) listening in on an interesting conversation being held by others.
  2. Informal learning is arguably how most people learn most of what they know and are able to do, because the learning occurs automatically within (often) quite specific contexts. Yes, informal learning also occurs within classrooms.
  3. Nonformal learning takes place through planned activities that are not strictly regarded as educational. Two examples of nonformal learning: 1) flying an airplane with the assistance of an instructor pilot; and 2)learning to run dope under the guidance of a veteran pusher.
  4. Nonformal education is growing. In television, tens of channels are devoted to nonformal learning. The Internet may be said to be a huge and growing nonformal learning context.
  5. The Internet is a spectacular engine for both informal and nonformal education, because some of its resources are structured for casual learning and more focused, context-specific learning.
  6. Schools are foolish not to use the resources of the Web to help students learn 24/7 and to pass tests, because the Web lends itself to formal learning as much as to informal and nonformal learning.
  7. Schools that use the Web to the maximum simply duplicate what is already going on in business and industry around the world. Currently, schools lag the world of work by not emulating the practice of learning through all three modes in real-world contexts.
  8. It is possible to imagine a new educational institution evolving from dovetailed, Internet-supported formal, informal, and nonformal learning. Such an institution might be labeled the Global Classroom because it would be (nearly) ubiquitous around the planet.
  9. Anywhere/anytime learning is already with us, but it presents a threat to most formal educators. Families and their children can minimize this threat in a number of ways, including joining the Global Classroom and using it to Leapfrog their relative advantages within the world economy.
  10. Individualized and peer-to-peer learning are huge changes on the educational horizon. This is exciting because the Web vigorously supports both. Through individualized and peer-to-peer learning, new expressions of formal, informal, and nonformal learning will emerge.