Monday, February 8, 2010

Can We Formalize Informal Learning?


An interesting discussion has been initiated by Steve Case on the eCube LinkedIn group about formalizing informal learning. What struck a chord with me was Bill Bruck’s response. He says:

This may seem a little off the subject, but it seems like a lot of the learning pundits are making a critical category error. (Not the first time. 10 years ago they confused content with learning and we wound up with SCORM and LMS's that totally lose the learning experience in the Quest for Content.)

A lot of folks are confusing informal learning with social learning, or with the use of social media by equating them.

Bottom line: A lot of (online) informal learning uses social media. Some doesn't. Using Google or an EPSS is learning informally but not socially.

A lot of (online) social learning is informal. Some isn't. Structured coaching programs, incorporating required participation in a webinar or discussion forum into a blended learning program - these are certainly social, but not informal.

When we talk about formalizing informal learning, I think a lot of time we're asking about whether we can incorporate SOCIAL (not necessarily informal) learning into our structured, formal learning programs, and whether this will improve them.

eCube LinkedIn group now has close to 1100 members. Join the group to view the complete discussion.


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