Formal and Informal Learning

“Twenty years ago we were talking about collaborations that would change how people use new technologies in learning experiences…

So many things we’ve been talking about, and the question is, why hasn’t it happened yet?”

Alison Druin, University of Maryland

There is an all-too-frequent disconnect between the learning that young people pursue informally with digital media in places such as libraries and museums, and the learning that takes place (or fails to take place) in schools.

In our interviews and discussions, we found three major themes:

  • The distinction (or not) between formal and informal learning. How does learning happen, or not happen, in different settings? How can educators and mentors motivate and engage youth in learning in all environments?
  • Youth information behaviors are changing. How are youth learning, both formally and informally, in the digital media environment? Which groups of youth benefit most from these learning opportunities?
  • Learning heroes can bridge formal and informal learning spaces. Who are the learning heroes? How can learning heroes can help promote innovation in formal and informal learning spaces?