Posted by: drewdice | March 14, 2010

Informal Learning in Education?

Can you imagine a world where everyone is constantly learning? In The Cluetrain Manifesto, Levine, Locke, Searls & Weinberger take it further, posing a world “where what you wondered was more interesting than what you knew, and curiosity counted for more than certain knowlege”.

Research continues proving the value of informal learning versus formal learning. In fact, recent studies show that 80% of what people learn comes from informal learning (you can view the research from the Institute for Research on Learning. I believe most of the research focuses on adult learning).

Motivation and improved performance is undeniably linked to autonomy and an individual’s feeling of achievement and progress. The flattening of the world and advent of technology has made it easier and easier for individual, team and organizational performance to skyrocket by incorporating these components into company culture (use of internal blogs, wikis, collaboartion, social media and social networking, teaming environments…)

This is the first of what will be many posts on this subject, and my thoughts today focus on curiosity about why our education is not embracing this research and better incorporating it into schooling.

The point, I believe, is that kids learn, and this includes learning how to be resourceful, collaborative, creative, and social. Understanding that learning is very personal, and that we need to do a better job of unlocking how each child best learns is a key element of enabling better performance in schools, and outside of schools.

Our children are not slow, stupid or inferior to those in other countries who seem to be further ahead of learners in our country. That being said, I believe that our systems of learning, testing and scoring is antiquated, and not aligned with how research shows people best learn.

The sooner we bring education in sync with the research, the sooner we’ll be on track to more consistently and powerfully enable higher performance, not only in business, but also in our youth.

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