- Informal Learning - Let's Get Real - Part II
- Informal Learning - Let's Get Real
- Elves, Measuring Results and Informal Learning
- Guidance Needed - Are we Misguided in Informal Learning and ...
- Informal Learning is Too Important to Leave to Chance
I just saw two posts on Informal Learning that made helped me to realize the dilemma. First, was Informal Learning on Training Day, written by Michael McGinnis -who has been on a couple of panels that I moderated. In it he talks about three kinds of tools that he's provided that support informal learning: Structured OTJ Checklists, Knowledge Guides, Quick Reference Guides. What's interesting about this is that I normally wouldn't think about these as being "informal learning" mostly because while they aren't part of a formal learning setting, they are classic kinds of tools that we build as part of an overall learning intervention.
The other post was by Clark Aldrich, Is it self-defeating to write a book advocating Informal Learning over Formal? Where Clark says:
I am struck by a basic paradox. Can one criticize formal learning models in a
book? Isn't a book the epitome of what one is suggesting is the wrong model?
I don't really agree that you can't use formal learning techniques to tell or teach about a topic such as informal learning. This is the same as discussing virtual classroom tools at an in-person conference session. There's no problem, but it is ironic.
On the other hand, Clark's comment did make me think about the paradox that informal learning faces...
Once we give structure and form to a learning intervention, doesn't it stop
This is much like the challenge of Artificial Intelligence that I was struck by back in the 80s. If you define a problem, such as playing chess and you say that requires intelligence - the moment you write a program that solves the problem, then you redefine what it means to be intelligent because in hindsight its pretty obvious how to play chess. It's just an algorithm. Intelligence must be more than that. It must be learning. But once you program a simple learning solution, then intelligence must be more than that.
Informal learning faces the same paradox. The moment you figure out the "form" of a solution - can it still be "informal" ??? Look at the words closely.