Magic of Informal Learning!

Informal learning is quite often neglected; however, it can play a crucial role in strengthening formal learning.

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

Author: Dr Prabhat Pankaj

Dr. Prabhat Pankaj is a postgraduate in Economics and a Ph.D. in applied economics. He is a teacher by choice and started his career 30 years ago in 1991 from Arunachal University. He has been teaching Economics at postgraduate and undergraduate levels for about 30 years, in Universities and B-Schools in India and abroad, including 7 years in Bhutan. Dr. Pankaj has also obtained his Executive Education in "Management and Leadership in Higher Education" at Harvard University, Boston, USA. Furthermore, He has written for the Times of India and other popular publications. Currently, he is serving as the Director of Jaipuria Institute of Management, Jaipur.

23 thoughts

  1. Excellent read Sir. Learning is always an edge for the academicians. VED of course is crucial to strengthen the learning accumen for both the teacher and the taught. The essence of your read is inspiring that needs to be followed.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good read Sir. Informal learning actually can go a long way, as it is more of self-driven with self-chosen platform for learning.
    Would like to hear more from you Sir on how to identify and create such platforms for students.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great Sir… Wonderfully explained the VED in context of Bloom’s Taxonomy…. Pz throw light further on applying VED & Bloom’s Taxonomy for Slow & Fast learners specifically.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Dear Dr Pankaj- ji:
    Greetings from Dallas, Texas!!

    So exciting to see your blog. With this – VED, blended informal
    Learning brainchild is born. We need sprouting of such breakthroughs ideas at all higher learning Indian institutions. This way, Indian youth can lead globally in human development.

    Faculty lectures should be rich, intense but not at cost of free floating ideas, opinions, and peer discussions. Faculty should be catalyst. Thanks for ideas in enabling 21.5 century learning, sir.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very nicely put sir, Informal set ups can bring amazing learnings. As a child imbibes so much from his /her informal environment so as the adults. Also what is imperative for a teacher here is that let us not restrict ourselves to classroom teaching only, it should be much beyond it. It is very rightly said by someone that “NOT ALL CLASSROOMS HAS 4 WALLS.
    Very well conveyed sir, thanks for such a crisp and profound read.

    Dr. Aparna

    Liked by 1 person

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