Informal Learning: Perspectives, Challenges and Opportunities


Stephen Rutherford, Ph.D. (Editor)
Deputy Director of Learning and Teaching, School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK

Series: Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World
BISAC: EDU021000

Human beings are learning all the time. Regardless of whether or not they are enrolled in formal education, people are constantly learning from everyday experiences through problems they have solved and interactions they have encountered. Humans learn from family, friends, peers and colleagues as well as through their own natural curiosity. This informal learning is a powerful part of the learning experience, and is important to lifelong learners of all ages. Informal learning is important to education, in the workplace, during leisure activities and in social situations. The impact of informal learning is therefore quite considerable.

Formal learning in the classroom is well-documented and exhaustively researched, but is limited by the need for an expert to design and scaffold that learning space. Even non-formal (self-regulated or self-directed) learning involves a goal, or a specific aim, and is usually guided by a curriculum. In contrast, informal learning is generally lacking in a clearly defined aim, is rarely – if ever – assessed, and can occur in any environment, at any time, and by anyone. This book aims to highlight examples of the many different forms that informal learning can take, and to assess its impact on educational situations and on learning in the workplace.

Drawn from educational and workplace settings from expert contributors across the globe, the studies in this volume cover a broad range of environments and disciplines. Presented is a collection of case studies, expert reviews and original research, which illustrate different forms of informal learning, and provide examples of how the potential for informal learning can be harnessed in practice. From the experiences of workplace learners, adult learners, virtual learning communities, older learners, clinicians and volunteers, this volume addresses the role of informal learning in a variety of working and learning environments. By addressing the development of skills, identities, learning approaches and professional relationships, an impression of the role of informal learning in educational development is also highlighted. Finally, via examples of ubiquitous learning using mobile technologies, revisions to curricula, the use of games in learning, and the use of “pop-up schools”, this volume highlights how informal learning can be embedded in learning activities that lead to profound changes in how people see the world.

This book would be of interest to educators and managers alike, and aims to highlight that informal learning occurs all around us, and if we recognise it and its impact, then we can enhance our potential as lifelong learners and make work and educational environments richer and more effective.
(Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Perspectives, Challenges, and Opportunities of Informal Learning
Stephen M. Rutherford (School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wale, U.K.)

Chapter 2. The Challenges and Opportunities of Entertainment Games and Serious Games for Formal and Informal Learning
Elizabeth A. Boyle, Melody M. Terras and Judith Ramsay (School of Media, Culture and Society, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, U.K, and others)

Chapter 3. Pop-Up Art Schools and the ‘Carnivalesque’
Sarah M. Williamson (Division of Initial Teacher Education (Lifelong Learning), University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, U.K.)

Chapter 4. Collaborative Ubiquitous Learning: A 21st-Century Approach for (In)Formal Scenarios
Soraya García-Sánchez (Department of Modern Languages, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Gran Canaria, Spain)

Chapter 5. Informal Learning in a Digital Landscape: A Higher Education Drama Conservatoire Case Study
Jo Shah (The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, London, U.K.)

Chapter 6. Exploring Informal Learning in Spain: An Analysis Based on the Adult Education Survey
Carla Quesada-Pallarès and Miren Fernández-de-Álava (Leeds University Business School, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK, and others)

Chapter 7. The Perception of Non-Formal Learning Outcomes in Undergraduate Engineering Students of Two Chilean Universities: A Comparative Study
Mario F. Letelier, Claudia A. Oliva and Rosario Carrasco (Center of Research for Creativity and Higher Education, University of Santiago, Santiago, Chile)

Chapter 8. The SpLD Tutorial as a Third Space
Victoria E. Mann and Holly N. T. Burkinshaw (Student Skills and Development Centre, Sheffield University, Sheffield, U.K.)

Chapter 9. The Rules of the Game: Informal Learning and the Development of Identity during the Transition to Higher Education
Stephen M. Rutherford (School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, U.K.)

Chapter 10. Recognition of Informal Learning in Virtual Communities of Practice: A Case Study of Public Health Workers
Miren Fernández-de-Álava, Daniel Giménez, Txus Tolosa, Antoni Colomer, Pilar García and Jordi Vendrell (School of Education, University of the Balearic Islands, Mallorca, Spain, and others)

Chapter 11. On the Job Learning in Clinical Settings
Kate Ippolito and Jo Horsburgh (Educational Development Unit, Imperial College, London, U.K.)

Chapter 12. Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching: Making the Informal Count
Karen E. Ford and Nigel V. Russell (Professional Development Team for Learning and Teaching, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, U.K.)

Chapter 13. Older Workers and Informal Learning in the Workplace
Kath Atkinson (University of Leicester, Leicester, U.K.)

Chapter 14. Volunteers at Work: The Learning Experiences of Volunteers in a Professional Workplace
Liz Dixon (School of Education and Professional Development, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, U.K.)

Chapter 15. Workplace Learning as a Competitive Intangible Asset of the Organization: Enhancing Informal Learning from a Strategic Human Resource Management Perspective
Amelia Manuti (Department of Education, Psychology and Communication, University of Bari, Italy)

About the Editor


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