Informal learning is semi-structured and occurs in a variety of places, such as learning at home, work, and through daily interactions and shared relationships among members of society.
For many learners this includes language acquisition, cultural norms and manners. Informal learning for young people is an ongoing process that also occurs in a variety of places, such as out of school time, as well as in youth programs and at community centers.
In the context of corporate training and education, the term Informal Learning is widely used to describe the many forms of learning that takes place independently from instructor-led programs: books, self-study programs, performance support materials and systems, coaching, communities of practice, and expert directories.
Informal learning can be characterized as follows:
* It often takes place outside educational establishments standing out from normal life and professional practice;
* It does not necessarily follow a specified curriculum and is not often professionally organized but rather originates accidentally, sporadically, in association with certain occasions, from changing practical requirements;
* It is not necessarily planned pedagogically & andragogically conscious, systematically according to subjects, test and qualification-oriented, but rather unconsciously incidental, holistically problem-related, and related to situation management and fitness for life;
* It is experienced directly in its "natural" function of everyday life.
This leads to problems with regard to the transparency, integrity, accountability, validation, and quality management of emerging informal Web 2.0/3.0 educational structures. E.g. how do you get these KSEs (knowledges, skills, and experiences) into your CV in a valid manner?
Within the scope and intention of increasing growth and jobs within the EU by 2020 and earlier, the EU Commission has endorsed the investigation of this contingency within its QUALC project from 2007-2009.
The Ning group Global Informal Adult Learning
from EFQUEL/QUALC addresses these and other issues...
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