Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Clarifying Informal Learning & Web 2.0

I've been reading The CU Online Handbook which I found through someone's else blog. It's a fairly big document and I wasn't sure it was worth wading through. However, early on I've found a good article which has some insightful comments on Informal and Web 2.0.

Apart from a belief that informal learning needs to be acknowledged and utilize in our education, I have a lot of "learning" to do on informal. The following quote by Phil Antonelli in the chapter Make, Share, Find: Web 2.0 and Informal Learning has helped:

"learning is a natural human cognitive process that is constantly occurring whether someone is in a formal learning setting or not. A simple example of this is how toddlers learn to speak their native tongue. They may be "coached" by parents and familiy members but barring physical deficits there are no formal classes necesary to learn ot speak. This type of learning had been defined as informal learning."

This is a useful example. Just as I hope we can eventually drop the e off e-learning, I hope we can eventually drop the informal/formal prefix to learning. Let's just learn! And not have it defined against our organisational structure or the delivery methods.

Phil also uses a useful classification structure of Make, Share, Find with Web 2.0. In the past, I've used the classification from the document Education 2.0? Designing the web for teaching and learning which aligned web 2.0 with four typically human dispositions:


  • Socialising the playful: games and virtual worlds
  • Socialising the expressive: media design, sharing, and publication
  • Socialising the reflective: blogs, social networks, and wikis
  • Socialising the exploratory: syndication, recommenders, folksonomies
The latter is more comprehensive and more academic, but the former feels like a better way of spreading the message. I always look for the simplist way to explain something. You could align:
  • Make with playful and expressive
  • Share with reflective
  • Find with exploratory
I'll keep reading and share the learning here.

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