Embracing e-Learning

Informal Learning



Performance Support Tools


What is Informal Learning?

Informal Learning is when learning takes place but it is neither structured nor formalized. This type of learning takes place almost everyday for most people (Broadbent, 2002, p. 11 - 13).

When someone says, "what is that plant?" Then they go online and ask a friend or search for what they think it is to compare pictures, this is one type of Informal Learning.

Often Informal e-Learning takes place on Social Networks like Twitter and Facebook, or on Professional Networks that have formal Discussion Boards like LinkedIn. They also take place each time a person reads a blog or other article on the internet or watches a video or podcast.

When an individual has a group of people on a social network that is for improving their knowledge, these are often called Personal Learning Networks. They can also be Online Critical Friends Groups, depending on the situation.

On Twitter, there are groups who meet at particular times to share tips, tricks, and other ideas, such as #lrnchat, who discuss trends in e-Learning. Many times on both Twitter, Facebook and similar places the people of interest will also post articles, blogs and other sites in your field to help you to find information that may be helpful to you.

On LinkedIn, I have a discussion group for my colleagues in a particular course, but I also belong to several groups who use technology in education, including the group Teachers Who Love Math Games!, where links and ideas are shared on just Math Games.

An article to be read could be most websites on the internet, including this overview of different types of e-Learning. As mentioned above there are many people who create blogs that may have the information needed, Tamara's Thoughts is just one example of a blog that may have valuable information for a learner.

There are lots of videos out there to help people learn new skills or refresh their older ones. There are lots of video sites on the internet. The Circles (Eyster, 2011) video shows math students some of the information they need when working with circles.