We are developing an overview of the extent to which notions of formal, non-formal and informal learning are manifested in the academic and practitioner literature of adult and community education ACE. Issues of context and structure, in the wider sense that Billett a describes, impacted upon both formal and informal processes together.
Should all criteria be equally important, as this approach would imply? Thus an apparently small shift along just one of the dimensions may in fact result in a much greater shift, though this may not have been fully considered.
The case of mentoring for disadvantaged young people Mentoring clearly falls within the informal sector, as described by Scribner and Coleand would be seen as predominantly informal or non-formal, according to most of the classifications presented earlier.
However, the best way to do this may not be through the categorisation of actual learning as of one or other type. The following list gives some examples there is overlap, so the distinctions are not always that clear but not exhaustive.
Rather the two were inter-related, as when one teacher took ideas from a short course and integrated them not only into his own teaching, but also into the discussions and practices of his departmental colleagues.
Not only did they not have access to the equipment necessary to implement these approaches, but, for at least some, the content and mode of training provided clashed with their customary ways of teaching and learning through practice.
Sometimes this was a subtle process of cooling out — a sort of legitimate peripheral participation Lave and Wenger, in reverse. In doing that, we would have to address the following problems: Writing in the context of community care and support for carers, Gertig addresses some of the learning-oriented work required of professionals such as social workers and community health professionals.
This can be seen in much traditional local authority adult education some of which has survived the funding changes of the last ten yearswhere classes in cookery, DIY, crafts and exercise co-existed with the pursuit of more cerebral studies.
What follows is an, as yet, unreferenced summary of some of the key features of the ACE landscape. The first, where the caseworker decides that a client needs to learn particular ideas or behaviour, appears highly informal, but is akin to his notion of formal education as practised within indigenous communities, where the voluntarism of the learner is low, knowledge status is rational cognitive, learning is mediated by an expert, and the expert designates the learner as requiring knowledge.
The WEA has generally refrained from theorising its approach, although claims have always been made for its social and democratic benefits.
For example, teaching staff were located in separate subject departments.
Student choice is largely restricted to joining or not joining. One way of understanding what happens in such educational settings, is to examine case studies.
However it would be fair to say that what actually occurred in many instances was didactic and thus formal teaching within a non-formal setting and ethos. Their growing self-confidence and ability at things like inter-personal communication, were bounded by this family context.
This historical context is of crucial importance since it illuminates a number of the assumptions which are evident in ACE writing, for example in relation to social and political purpose, social critique and democracy.
But there is another, more serious problem. Education implies that the process of learning is deliberate and purposeful and that the people concerned are seeking to acquire knowledge. The tutor is charismatic and forceful, and dominates the teaching and learning.
This analysis changed the direction of our research. What counts as knowledge on the course is not primarily the requirements of the external syllabus and examinations, but much more generic and partly tacit judgements about what qualities, knowledge, attitudes, dress and behaviour are required for membership of the nursery nursing profession.
This includes learner activity, pedagogical styles and issues of assessment: In this respect, much of the learning that students described was clearly embodied, along the lines that Beckett and Hager suggest.
It begins to raise the question of purposes, and of whose interests dominate, even though the content may remain substantively the same.
Again, there are broader contextual and structural issues that inter-penetrate both the formal and informal elements.
The course content need not be fixed and is often tailored to address the particular needs of the carer p.
Our work on these four dimensions of formality and the relationships between them is ongoing. But the details are often unplanned, and lie beyond the normal scope of formal learning.
To begin with, much of the learning takes place within actual nurseries — a workplace context that would normally be described as informal, and where the prime purpose of the organisation is not the learning of the students.
The learning on college premises is also partly informal.Eight Principles of Good Practice for All Experiential Learning Activities. Regardless of the experiential learning activity, both the experience and the learning are fundamental.
non-formal learning: mapping the conceptual terrain.
a c onsultation r eport In this piece Helen Colley, Phil Hodkinson & Janice Malcolm provide a very helpful overview of different discourses around non-formal and informal learning and find that there are few, if any, learning situations where either informal or formal elements are completely absent.Download