Traditional and formal education has been for a long time been the standard and de facto method in order to deliver information. Especially considering the classroom set up, where in there is a teacher, a student, a classroom, and a designated curriculum for the discussion that is facilitated by the teacher, the method of formal education is deeply relies upon in our culture in order to deliver the information that is required for learning (Sefton-Green, 2004).
This paper does not attempt to deny or ignore the efficiency of a formal education set up. However, recently, a growing number of academic studies have pointed towards informal education to be efficient and effective this will especially in the multi-faceted field of learning and education. The paper does not claim that informal education could provide a substitute and an alternative for formal education.
What it does stress, however, is that informal education may be a reliable accompaniment to formal and traditional methods of teaching and that if properly used and combined with traditional means of information teaching, could yield larger results especially in the classroom set up where students have been pointed out by research to be having multiple levels and kinds of learning, education, and reception methods. Such informal education has been implemented by many academic institutions around the world.
In fact, the choice of educational institution often relies not only on the ability of teachers to deliver content through traditional classroom means, but also the various facilities, activities, and informal learning methods that the school and educational institution implements e-learning framework of students. However, as has been the case by the Montessori institution problem, informal education, much like formal education, needs a specific design in order for it to be effective and efficient. One could not just throw a hodgepodge of activities and claim it to be effective informal education techniques.
The identification process is just as difficult as the teaching itself. Researchers who have undergone the subject of identifying essential academic informal education processes have highlighted the efficiency of statistics — taking into consideration various variables that focus on that specific market and demographic. For example, although it has been proven that learning games had been efficient in Western schools, that method of informal education is not so effective in eastern schools because children are used to the traditional classroom set up a formal education which they have been introduced to in the past.
Alternatively, eastern schools made use of such learning games only through gradual adaptation, unlike those that had been implemented in western education where it was fully integrated immediately knew the curriculum of schoolchildren. Therefore, the best method in order to identify these informal learning methods is to understand the demographics, the market, and the behavior of the students where such curriculum would be taught and adapt them to not only the learning result that may be brought about by the informal education method but also the social context which it shall be taught to.
Another example of informal learning that is being integrated into discussions of undergraduate programs, especially in the fields of political science, philosophy, and the humanities, is the teaching method that requires constant interaction with students and allowing them to voice out their opinions without the permission of teachers and professors.
This method has traditionally been associated to the discussion group method where in the teacher and professor is not considered the highest knowledge giving body in the classroom but rather a facilitator in the discussion where in the students would be voicing out their own opinions and learnings from the subject matter rather than being imposed upon by the strict curriculum.
Especially in the humanities, and the subject matters we have identified above were in it is essential for students to have an analytical perspective and not just a memorized body of standardized knowledge, this informal learning method would not only be more effective with respect to academic learning, but also be more efficient with respect to further training and development of the students depending on the chosen field.
Yet another example that we could point out in an academic institution are those that are being implemented in sports programs in secondary school. It has long been a proven fact that physical education may be able to teach concepts such as teamwork, relationship building, and trust that is very difficult to learn in a formal and traditional classroom set up. However, recently, researchers have driven such physical education classes to integrate informal learning with formal learning processes by instituting lessons of human kinetics to the sports programs themselves.
Children are not just integrate the two sports and extracurricular activities without first identifying the various details and focus — as well as the science — behind such training. For example, Gym classes in secondary schools have for a long time integrated swimming activities for the student body. Recently, however, before such swimming training is integrated to the students, students are first introduced to the human kinetics and science of respiratory improvement and cardiovascular training that could be found in swimming exercises (Lucas, 1983).
The promotion of such activities would be less difficult nowadays especially because recent research have pointed towards such informal education to be key aspects in student improvement. However, in institutions where such research and discussions have not reached, educators and school heads may be given solid research and peer-reviewed articles about the effectiveness and efficiency of such informal learning in their institutions and how it may be able to significantly increase the capabilities — both academic and nonacademic — standards of their students.
Courtney from Study Moose
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