Invisible Learning: What You Should Know

18 July, 2020
Invisible learning aims to conceive of new forms of learning. Discover more about the main characteristics in today's article.

The purpose of invisible learning is to integrate different perspectives and theories into education, in order to understand learning in a new way. And, in doing so, allow people to develop new habits, competencies, and skills according to their current social and professional context.

All of this will impact their levels of education and employability, according to the authors Cristobal Cobo Romaní and John W. Moravec, who emphasize the need to rethink the way we view and understand learning in the context of globalization.

In their book Invisible Learning (2011), they talk about the impact of the advance of technology and learning associated with new applications of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) on learning. What’s more, they also point out the transformation of formal, non-formal, and informal education.

Invisible learning: Invisible doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist

Just as the authors have affirmed, “Invisible learning isn’t that which doesn’t exist, rather that which we can’t observe.” In this sense, they claim that invisible learning is that which gives value to the explicit learning that we can accredit and certify.

Mainly, it refers to what we learn throughout the course of our lives which is personal and tied to our individual experiences. In other words, it is tacit knowledge that, on occasion, is more difficult to verbalize of codify.

What Is Invisible Learning?

So, the idea of this approach is to “invisibilize” certain practices employed within formal and traditional schools. Practices like memorization, repetition, punishment, and equivocation should cease to be ways to tackle knowledge. At the same time, the approach seeks to visibilize other necessary competencies – such as creativity – that people learn in more informal settings.

According to the invisible learning focus, schools aren’t teaching the digital competencies that students people require today. For example, skills like writing and publishing in different multimedia formats are essential, as are storing and transferring information.

What’s more, students must also learn how to download and use applications that are necessary for daily life. For example, home banking, GPS, notepad, cloud storage, etc.

Therefore, invisible learning suggests valuing new and different ways of learning competencies – especially through practice. In other words, we don’t learn because someone teaches us how certain technology works. Rather, we learn because we use this technology for some specific purpose.

Making the invisible visible

To make the invisible visible, Cobo Romaní and Moravec suggest the following:

  • Valuing how, where, and when learning takes place, not just what is being learned.
  • Conceiving of learning life skills as a form of education, integrating formal and informal contexts of teaching and learning.
  • Redefining education according to clearer objectives regarding the future we want to create. This involves considering human capital as a key factor.
  • Considering the learning process from a new perspective in a fresher and more intuitive way.
What Is Invisible Learning?

  • Educating in order to deal with uncertainty, developing competencies that are adaptable to diverse and changing contexts.
  • Integrating and working with information and communication in a collaborative way.
  • Not establishing age limits for learning and allowing for flexible and personalized education.
  • Creativity, innovation, collaboration, and critical thought should constitute the fundamental elements of invisible learning.

Conclusion

The ideas that the authors suggest in this approach are a starting point for rethinking a new educational paradigm. With an inclusive position regarding ideas, perspectives, and theories, we set a new stage for discussing education.

It’s on this stage where new forms of conceiving teaching and learning must become visible. At the same time, we must invisibilize traditional educational practices that don’t respond to the real needs of modern times.