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A New Age of Informal Learning: Discussing Our Experiences Learning Online

45 minutes
Higher Education
Evaluation of Technology-Based Innovations for Learning Effectiveness
Emerging Technologies in the Learning Landscape
Adaptive and Personalized Learning

The everyday, informal, out-of-school learning adults do has drastically changed in the past two decades, as information and interaction online has grown and evolved. Instead of attending in-person workshops and noncredit courses, sending away for fact sheets and the like, much informal learning today occurs online, often beginning with a search engine or social network. However, long-standing nonprofit and governmental institutions with outreach education missions have largely failed to understand and capitalize on the new information and education ecosystem, while nimble start-ups (e.g., Wikipedia) have thrived. This roundtable aims to identify pedagogical examples of content and platform design online and possible ways of measuring learning outcomes. Discussion topics will include: How do you use the internet for informal learning? What have you learned informally through the internet? How do you know you've learned what you've learned? If you were the organization who invested in the platform or content that is being learned from, how could you measure those learning outcomes? The goal of this roundtable will be to unearth examples of useful approaches to the design and evaluation of public websites and social media to support nonprofit and governmental institutions with education-related missions to participate more fully in the informal online learning happening every day.


Alison Holland, University of Minnesota Extension