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Informal vs Formal Learning

Respond to the following article in the context of what we have been discussing in class: Formal vs. Informal Learning

This article, about the importance of informal learning in the future, can be summed up in one word – “emotion.” Author, Nick Shackleton-Jones says that emotion is at the core of informal learning. Although Jones downplays the importance of emotional intelligence, he builds on “emotional markers” to cultivate learning. Emotional intelligence is really another name for the personal intelligences observed by Howard Gardner. Interpersonal intelligence (the ability to understand the feelings and intention of others and (intrapersonal intelligence (the ability to understand one's own feelings and motivations (http://wholechild.net/ei.htm).

Jones suggests that we are in a “renaissance of learning” because of increased demand for informal learning. I agree with this statement. Formal learning is on the decline!

We have been researching communities of practice in all of our course work, including our Action Research Projects. Lave and Wenger, in Situated Learning, discuss the roles of apprentice and master and about the importance and value of sharing knowledge. Even in today’s complex business models, most use the “bottom up” approach to learning where peers still play an important role in employees’ on-the-job training.

Our cadre is studying about informal learning while using informal learning as a core platform for the OMET program. Authors, Daniel Pink and Frank Smith, both supporters of collaborative and self-directed forms of learning, embrace the concept of informal learning. Smith uses different terms to describe formal and informal learning—official and classic learning, emphasizing we learn from the “company we keep.” Pink, on the other hand, focuses on the “heart and soul” of the emerging Conceptual Age.

On a side note, while doing some extended research on this assignment, I came across an interesting article by Gary Stager. He wrote the following review on March 09, 2008, entitled “The Worst Book of the 21st Century.” Apparently, Stager does not agree with Pink—“A Whole New Mind is full of factoids woven together to conjure up grandiose theories” (http://blogs.districtadministration.com/thepulse/2008/03/the-worst-book.html).