Informal Learning & Digital Media – What’s New?

Today is the first day of the DREAM conference – I’m presenting this morning  and I’m still struggling with limited internet access…. I’ll attempt to capture some of the key issues from each of the keynote presenters and then draw out some of the themes that are emerging on informal learning…just allow for delayed posts due to internet access..

Keynote: Kirsten Dortner is the Director of DREAM
Kirsten foregrounded the co-existance of informal learning & digital media then situated it in the conceptual traditions around education:
Educational Policy; Social captial; cultural practices

Some terms appearing regularly here over the last couple of days: Formal learning, non-formal learning & informal learning…
1948   introduced non-formal education concept by UNESCO – learning that occurs outside the formal sector
1970s – Paolo Freire took non-formal as an emancipatory tool. Focused on intentions of learning and the substance of learning rather than how learning can come about.
Focus now on home schooling, NGOs, community centres.

Social Captial – informal learning focus on workplace taining – ad hoc spells of training, learning by doing. Connection betwwen lifelong learning and informal learning – and how it can be accredited in the workplace.

Cultural Practices – focus on leisure…on the what and how of learning including the settings. Return to everyday learning – perhaps return to radical education principles of 1970s.

Joint issues of definition and power:
Education policy: what to learn (power over substance); social capital: how to learn (power over organisation and results; cultural practices: what and how to learn (power over cultural hierarchies).

Key Issues:
Digital media are crucial to competence formation
Social and digital divides go together
Convergence from technological focus on single media to focus on diverse communicative aspects of media ensemble. (Re-mix of existing genres – co-authoring content, open to dialogue..)

Conncetion between Informal Learning & Digital Media
Disperison of learning sites
Re-organisation of learning processes
Changing of learning substance

Key issues to future developments:
Literacy issues with informal learning and digital media…informal digital productions by young people don’t necessarily connect or produce to existing literacy forms.
Move to multimodal literacy…
Educational Policy: digital divides vs equity of participation; literacy and competence formation
Social Capital: organisation vs substance; the impact of context
Cultural practices: the commodification of learning resources; tacit vs explicit knowledge

Remember the assests of formal learning – careful not to brand formal learning as BAD and informal learning as GOOD!
And from me – to augment or supplement  formal learning with informal collective learning networks…

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