Informal learning: unofficial, unplanned, spontaneous ways to get knowledge and skills

teacher and kids outdoor class

Traditional educational methods are frankly outdated. As time passes, it becomes obvious that new approaches should be introduced to increase the efficiency of academic activities. The key characteristics of this system being:

There is no clear plan

Young people often feel depressed because of strict rules and regulations, the heavy burden of educational duties.

Informal learning allows them to enjoy greater freedom of action, while professors can use authorial methodologies and not stick to generally approved curriculum.

High motivation

Since educators show lively interest in students’ ideas, impressions, and emotions, informal learners are eager to participate in academic activities, often ask questions and show increased enthusiasm.

They are not afraid to be punished for mistakes since there is no strict grading system.

Professors appreciate their in-class activity and daily efforts as highly as final results, in contrast to the traditional system based on tests and pass/fail exams.

Spontaneous character

There is no established learning place or time. The borders of a physical classroom expand, and academic sessions may be held in any environment.

Educators seek inspiration for compiling curricula everywhere, explore the surrounding world to find something useful for their learners.

For example, a touristic trip may become a great source of knowledge, inspire learners to find out more curious facts on historic and cultural topics.

Even at school, it is not obligatory to wait for a bell to start the educational process.

Educator can communicate with kids on breaks, in informal environment, deviate from a standard lecture plan, pay attention to social and practical skills young people would need in everyday life.

Strong interpersonal bonds

Informal learning does not boil down to in-class communication between professors and students. Everyone who cares for a person may act as one’s mentor, for example, parents and other relatives.

Emotional closeness is regarded as something much more important than certificates, degrees, and academic titles. There is no use in all these insignia if a kid feels lonely and unhappy in a class.

There is no age hierarchy in informal learning. A son or a daughter teaching one’s parent how to use technology is a great example.

Harsh criticism from academics

There is a heated controversy around this approach. Some educators claim that it is useless, undermines discipline, creates a fertile soil for mess and underperformance.

It seems that students would not learn if there is the opportunely to do nothing, while inexperienced professors would make many…
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