It is often said that the highest level of learning that involves the deepest cognitive impact on an individual is informal learning.

Informal learning is a great outlet for reflective practice or experiential learning. Learners enjoy the autonomy associated with informal learning. They gather knowledge from multiple sources, establish a pattern and choose what to believe and practice. But before we go any further, what exactly is informal learning?

Informal Learning

A definition coined by the training industry stipulates that informal learning refers to learning that occurs away from a structured, formal classroom environment. Informal learning comes in many forms, including watching videos, self-study, reading books and articles, participating in forums and chat rooms, performance support, social learning, coaching sessions and games. Basically, informal learning is a style of learning in which the learner sets their own goals and objectives.

Characteristics of Informal Learning

  1. There are no guidelines or set formulas to the methods of learning; no organization.
  2. Informal learners are highly self-motivated
  3. There is the element of spontaneity in informal learning
  4. No curriculum
  5. The world is the classroom
  6. It is an integral part of lifelong learning that builds up one’s character

Benefits of Informal Learning

  1. Creates a low stress environment with no formal testing that often leads to high pressure situations.
  2. Informal learning activities are activities that easily flow with and mesh into one’s daily life. Even when one is not aware that they are necessary learning, they are actually attaining a level of skill development through informal learning.
  3. Learning through informal settings is highly intuitive and therefore easier to grasp and gain understanding or prowess.
  4. Without the presence of performance pressures, informal learning engages one’s curiosity. Individuals are bale to freely dive into their interests and have fun while they are at it.
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