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Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe



EPALE summary: June-July focus on non-formal and informal learning

by Markus Palmén
Language: EN
Document available also in: EL CS HU LV

/en/file/non-formal-and-informal-learning-epale-5Non-formal and informal learning EPALE

Non-formal and informal learning EPALE


EPALE thematic coordinator Markus Palmén casts a reflective eye on our focus on non-formal and informal learning, which ran throughout the months of June and July 2019.


Informal learning is ever-present

Michael Kenny set the stage by arguing in his blog post that informal learning is in fact the lifeblood of lifelong learning, indeed part of the human condition. All human activity contains learning, often unintentional, and informal learning overlaps considerably with non-formal and formal learning activities. Kenny mentions computers as a formidable source of informal learning – for example, just think of what a learning tool YouTube is, with over half of its users saying they use it for learning.

– In citizenship education, informal learning spaces influence learning outcomes more than we recognise, argues researcher Madeleine Le Bourdon in her blog post. She shares practical recommendations for educators teaching global citizenship topics, including encouraging learner interaction outside the classroom.

– If the topic of citizenship education interests you, don’t miss David Mallows’s article. He has collected good practice examples from EPALE users on citizenship education, in the context of our May online event.

– Do parents of small children regard parental leave as an informal learning experience? I interviewed three parents from different corners of Europe to better understand the learning aspects of parenthood. All interviewees talk of improvements in interpersonal skills, with a more all-round balanced outlook on work and life.     


Non-formal learning is a societal force

– The field of adult education is changing: to draw a rough sketch of the situation we have the soon-to-be-retired practitioners with vast hands-on experience, and the new generation of adult educators with university education. A gap exists between the more theoretical university studies in adult education and the more practice-oriented capacity building of working practitioners. The INTALL project aims to bridge this gap. Read more from thematic coordinator Gina Ebner’s interview with Professor Regina Egetenmeyer.   

– Siobhán O’Reilly is CEO of FamiliBase, a centre for children and youth in Ireland. In her blog article she sheds light on FamiliBase’s methods of mixing formal, non-formal and informal learning in service of disadvantaged communities. The ‘special ingredient’ in their work is to co-create learning solutions with the communities.

– I also looked back at a professional highlight from seven years ago – a video interview with the grand old man of Swedish non-formal learning, Gösta Vestlund – 106 years old at the time of writing! Vestlund suggested then that Nordic Folkbildning should be included in UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage.

– This EPALE focus also featured a podcast interview, hosted by thematic coordinator Simon Broek. Listen to Brigitte Bosche and Anne Strauch from the German Institute for Adult Education, talking about the Greta-portfolioPlus project. The project aims to develop a cross-provider recognition procedure for teacher/trainer competences in adult education – in short to help recognise informal and non-formal learning outcomes of adult educators.

What was your favourite article or resource that you found on EPALE in June and July? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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  • halil ibrahim kılınç's picture
    Eğitim insanların doğumundan başlar ve ölümüyle biter. Bu yüzden Türkiye'de yaygın eğitime HAYAT BOYU ÖĞRENME denir. Hayatımız boyunca yeni bilgiler öğreniriz.