The Importance of Informal Learning
Informal education consists of all the learning acquired outside of the classroom. All the knowledge you gain when you’re not in school can be considered informal learning.
For example, children are constantly learning new things at home, while playing sports or other activities, when talking with friends, and more. This is so important because as humans, we need to keep acquiring new knowledge and experiences. Kids need to learn in all areas of their lives, not only at school.
Characteristics of informal learning
The main characteristic of informal learning is that it usually happens by accident. In fact, we usually don’t even realize that we’re learning.
Unlike formal learning, informal learning is where you learn about life. It’s unexpected, unplanned, and more practical than theoretical learning. In addition, where formal learning is regulated, this type of education happens in different environments, spontaneously or in order to achieve a goal.
On the other hand, nowadays, new technologies offer lots of informal learning. There are millions of resources, platforms and educational apps out there. For example, there are courses, videos and social networks that offer multiple opportunities to learn.
Informal learning areas
Outside the school environment, you can learn informally anywhere. There are lots of different environments where informal learning takes place, such as:
- An association
- A sports center or gym
- The movies and the theater
- Conferences and courses (languages, cooking, DIY or specific professions)
- Fun activities like shopping
In addition, as we mentioned earlier, there’s new technology available in all of those areas. They make learning even easier.
The importance of always learning
This type of learning is so important because it works with formal education at school. That is, together, you’re helping your children keep learning on a regular basis. What kids learn through these other experiences will stay with them forever.
Therefore, you can learn about:
- Tending to specific needs or solving problems, whether at home or at work.
- Developing personal interests, like hobbies or other things you’re interested in.
- Meeting other people based on common interests or common goals.
- Complementing, expanding or deepening formal education.
We’re learning in every second of our lives, and in every activity. No matter where you are, you’re always learning.
Informal learning lets us move, develop, relate and communicate. In short, even if it doesn’t seem important, all of the activities we do teach us new things all the time.