The 21st century learning has to be far more blended, variously reinforced, and immensely open. The Y-generation seemingly learns for seeking relevance, improving performance, connecting to people & technology, and impacting output. Learners of today are not charmed by the magic of a ‘sage-on-stage’. They are more comfortable with a ‘guide-by-side’. This calls for a learning ecosystem which allows formal and informal structure to be placed side-by-side.
Formal learning encompasses teacher, class, course books, lecture, time table, and workshop. It does not talk about tools of learning such as conversation, debating, google search, youtube watching, role plays, practicing, online access for repeated learning, and learning from peers over coffee. Since most of it takes place outside classroom, it hardly finds place in formal learning setup of an institution. However, the new genre of learner tends to see more meaning in outside classroom formal setup. An utter neglect of informal learning affects student engagement and also underscores life-skills.
Informal learning is mostly unstructured. Learners feel free and spontaneous. It is rather self-seeking and natural. It involves students in a sheer pleasure of learning without any fear of being graded. It is important that institution provides 24×7 learning opportunities to students. It can be ensured using technology, learning management system, or use of social network. Students do learn better in group and with peers, with forums and platforms outside classroom. Promoting culture of dialogue and conversation is immensely helpful.
The Zen philosophy holds that nothing can be taught, but everything can be learnt. A blend of formal and informal learning provides essential width for maximizing learning and to seek happiness.
Originally Published : THE DESERT TRAIL