Sunday, December 16, 2012

A thought about continuing *self" education.

Justin Reich provided this figure to explain his conception of technology-based informal learning.
(I)n the world of informal learning—where most of us live during most of the day for most of our lives......Let me propose an "Informal Learning Core." has three pillars: the learner, the mentor, and the materials.
I think simple visual aids can be helpful, but we should recognize them as simplifications of the real world.

It seems to me that in the informal world we learn a lot from our peers, or even from others that we come into contact with only briefly. Thus the apex of Reich's triangle might be expanded to reflect the social networks of the learner(s).

I wonder about the term "mentors". I tend to reserve that term for people who in fact accept a role of helping another person to learn. But one often learns a lot from one's boss or one's clients -- people who help one to learn incidentally to accomplishing other purposes. Thus the "mentor" vertex might be shown also as including social networks.

In the context of "technology-based informal learning", it might be worthwhile to disaggregate "materials" into several categories, including "media" explicitly. In the informal world we learn from books, the Internet, television, radio, clubs, and other sources.

As the world changes more and more quickly, and as more and more of routine work is automated, it is important that we learn more and more outside of schools and as adults. So too, as the world get "flatter" and smaller, and as our roles as citizens and consumers become more and more demanding, it is also that we learn more and more outside schools and as adults. Technology-based informal learning already has a large role in our world, and that role should be increasing.

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