The Community Club

loading...

Discussion on: AMA with Cindy Au

Collapse
ben profile image
Ben Halpern

What are the important differences between formal and informal education settings on the Internet.... And is there crossover?

Like, there is the formal ways of learning at university, and all the informal learnings between classes?

Open ended question, would love your thoughts!

Collapse
shinyee_au profile image
Cindy Au Ask Me Anything

Ohhh, that's a super interesting question.

There's definitely a whole world of LMS's that schools/institutions use to bring digital tools into formal classroom settings. Most college educators have had to use Blackboard at some point in their teaching careers, and many schools license software and content that everyone is supposed to use, paid for ostensibly by their tuition. It's a very closed system and hard to innovate within because it's centralized and controlled by the school/license owner.

At the same time, there's an ever-growing world of learning tools and resources that have grown, largely organically, by bypassing the school or institution and serving teachers, parents, or students directly. TpT (teacher resources), Skillshare (video-based learning), countless learn-to-code platforms, etc - all are basically providing better, faster tools or filling underserved audiences/curricula in the learning space. If your high school doesn't offer programming classes, you can use Code Academy. If you can't ask your math teacher for homework help at 9pm, you can ask Brainly.

As I see it, the lines between formal learning and informal learning online are increasingly blurred - especially in our current situation. It's hard to build walls between remote learning and all the possible tools you might turn to to support your education, and how should schools think about things like attendance when you're watching a recorded lecture?

It's encouraging to see schools/teachers/parents opening up to possibilities necessitated by what has essentially become the biggest global experiment in online learning ever conducted. As a result, everyone is fundamentally rethinking everything from how long a school day or class should be, to what kind of curriculum actually prepares students for life beyond school.

Formal education will continue to be vital student development, but after this year especially, I suspect we'll see some much needed evolutions in how we define it and what it looks like.