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New Informal Ways of Learning: Or Are We Formalising the Informal?

Nuevas formas de aprendizaje informales: ¿O estamos formalizando lo informal?


Informal learning is currently seen by some authors as a shift in current educational systems. Based on a trend instigated by connectivism, whereby informal networks are created between people who help each other to learn, it seems to be an alternative to traditional ways of teaching and learning.

New technologies are key to the development of these informal learning models. Thus, digital Open Educational Resources (OER) and, more recently, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) are two different yet related ways of making such development possible. While still emerging and growing, some of these ways appear to be attempts at formalising the informal. Based on traditional transmissive models, some of the models that have been developed are simply makeovers of the old ones, albeit using new technologies to achieve their goals.

This article presents a critical review of the latest developments in informal learning, and points out the need for evidence-based research to establish what actual learning can be attained informally.


En la actualidad, algunos autores ven el aprendizaje informal como un cambio en los sistemas educativos actuales. Basándose en una tendencia instigada por el conectivismo, por el que se crean redes in formales entre personas que se ayudan unas a otras a aprender, el aprendizaje informal parece ser una alternativa a las formas tradicionales de enseñanza y aprendizaje.

Las nuevas tecnologías son claves para el desarrollo de estos modelos de aprendizaje informal. Así, los recursos educativos abiertos (OER) digitales y, más recientemente, los cursos abiertos en línea y masivos (MOOC) son dos métodos diferentes, si bien relacionados, para hacer posible este desarrollo. Aunque todavía están en emergencia y crecimiento, algunos de estos nuevos métodos parecen intentos de formalizar lo in formal. Basados en modelos de transmisión traditional, algunos de los modelos que se han desarrollado son solo transformaciones de los antiguos modelos, aunque utilizan nuevas tecnologías para conseguir sus objetivos.

Este artículo presenta una revisión crítica de los últimos desarrollos en el aprendizaje informal, y señala la necesidad de realizar investigación basada en pruebas pare establecer qué aprendizaje real puede conseguirse informalmente.


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Correspondence to Albert Sangrà.

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Sangrà, A., Wheeler, S. New Informal Ways of Learning: Or Are We Formalising the Informal?. Int J Educ Technol High Educ 10, 286–293 (2013).

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  • informal learning
  • user-generated content
  • OER
  • MOOCs
  • sustainability
  • learning evidences

Palabras clave

  • aprendizaje informal
  • contenido generado por el usuario
  • OER
  • MOOC
  • sostenibilidad
  • pruebas de aprendizaje