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  • Dossier “Informalisation of Education”
  • Open Access

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

International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education201510:10010286

  • Published:


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.


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