ACTE Techniques March 2014 - (Page 48)

Research Report Integrating and Monitoring Informal Learning in Education and Training By Greg Strimel, Patrick Reed, Geneva Dooley, Jade Bolling, Melissa Phillips and Diana V. Cantu It is generally accepted that most of what we learn, we learn from people other than a formal instructor. 48 Techniques March 2014 earning is a product or process we undertake that can occur in a variety of settings or situations. A learner can engage in a formal learning event, such as attending a professional development session provided by an employer, or an informal learning event such as acquiring a new skill on his or her own through real-world work experiences. The purpose of either formal or informal learning is the same: to learn or expand new knowledge, skills, abilities and understandings. Nevertheless, there are several considerations that must not be overlooked, particularly when engaging in informal learning. These can include the ability to plan, establish goals and evaluate the level of gained knowledge, as well as the ability to encourage learning efforts (Shulz & Robnagel, 2010). To address these issues, various methods of integrating informal learning through the use of technology, social media, workbased learning and other means-such as formalized coaching and mentoring- have been explored (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA, 2013). These means allow learners to develop an understanding of content and acquisition of skills through the practical application of knowledge. However, these methods should be further investigated in order to understand their impact and place in the education and training setting. Defining Informal Learning Informal learning can be defined in many ways. Yet, most definitions are related in that they describe informal learning as an experiential learning process that is not confined to formal educational establishments (Kim & McLean, 2014; Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007; IFLA, 2013; Kuh, Douglas, Lund, & Ramin-Gyurnek, 2003). It can generally be thought of as learning that occurs at home, work and during leisure hours in order to increase some form of new knowledge, skills, abilities and understandings. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2005), further categorizes learning into a formal, non-formal and informal type. Formal learning is accomplished through an educational institution, usually resulting in quantifiable credit(s) or a certificate; non-formal learning takes place through programs that are non-credit-producing; and informal learning, which takes place during workplace, family and/or social interactions and leisure activities (OECD, 2005). Research suggests that much of what people learn informally is through

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ACTE Techniques March 2014

Leading Edge
Classroom Connection
Leadership Matters
Capitol View
Q and A
Advocacy: A Dedicated Task
Actions Inspired by Words
Advocacy Saves the Day
Advocacy: The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Backyard Advocacy: How Local Business Partners Can Help
Top Five Local Advocacy Tips for Success
Solving the STEM Education Puzzle One Piece at a Time
Research Report
Indside ACTE
Career Curve

ACTE Techniques March 2014