Paradox of the Week? Planning for Informal Learning

Discussions about ‘informal learning’ seem to be growing. I am interested because libraries and museums have always been really important spaces for informal and unstructured learning.

I think it is important to study and understand how it works, and why informal learning is good. But can you actually plan for information leaning? At some point if you are planning for it, doesn’t it in fact cease to be informal?

3 thoughts on “Paradox of the Week? Planning for Informal Learning

  1. Sounds like the whole modern educational collapse restated in a slightly new set of terms–in the UK at least there has been a strong reaction against “formal”/”rote” learning for more than 40 years–it grew up teacher-driven from primary schools all the way up to universities. It was also known as ‘child-centred” –the result of course is that kids now dont know much at all–or mine dont anyway–its unbelievable the simple things they just dont know at all!!!
    Ditto university students increasingly–all education is drifting towards the remedial–its easier not to notice this at Oxford/Cambridge. I guess “planning etc….” is just one of the periodic reactions against this by people who see what they have wrought……..

  2. I think as the water-cooler cliche goes, you can design to encourage informal processes. So there might be specific features of museum and library layout and architecture that could create the right conditions for informal learning to spark into life :)

  3. I agree with Ian that we can design to encourage informal learning processes. But I also think that the formal/informal dichotomy oversimplifies what is occurring in these spaces. What constitutes as learning? While planning matters, perhaps we should consider the experiences in terms of what is learned, how this learning occurs, and where this learning occurs…in doing so, I think we’ll find that formal and informal learning often blend together.