Group Four Wiki Notes: Informal Learning

52620679_91acfc686b_t.jpg Informal learning, and the role of the mentor in choice making.
Technologies that facilitate collaboration and communication are opening up the learning environment beyond the traditional classroom walls. In a world where learning experiences take place outside the classroom as often as within it -- or possibly even more often -- informal learning is a key means of constructing knowledge. Paired with mentoring, informal learning is a powerful tool for education.

Please consider any five of the following questions as you explore the theme of informal learning and the role of the mentor in choice making.

Assumption: Current course structure does not exist. Our university is based on peer and mentor-based learning. Project-based learning is embraced and learning paths and projects are defined as a negotation between mentors and learners.

Lectures do exist. Disciplinary barriers will be questioned, bridged, broken down whenever possible.

1. What tools support informal learning and connecting with mentors?

Learners and mentors can be "found" from either side. It is a discourse. An individual can have multiple mentors and mentorship can happen within groups, communities of practice. It can be spontaneous as well as organized.

2. Who can serve as mentors? How can they be matched with learners?

Scholars and learners can be mentors. Matching must be dynamic based on need and progression through their learning path.

3. Which subjects or disciplines are best suited to informal learning and mentoring? Which are least suited?

Discussion Notes...

4. What kinds of choices are mentors especially helpful in making?

Mentors are good at asking questions. They help in defining learning paths, posing questions and problems, and bringing in new perspectives to the learning path.

5. What are the unique implications for the K-12 level? the postsecondary level? for lifelong or independent learners?

Mentors need some training in regards to the mentoring process and learners need to understand what their mentor´s role is.

6. What are the policy implications?

Engagement needs to be defined so everyone knows what to expect.

7. What are some promising examples? (please list URLs if possible)

Discussion Notes...

8. What are some of the roadblocks?

Discussion Notes...

Action Steps

List the top three to five action steps that could be taken right now towards implementing this idea. Which people or organization(s) might be able to take each action?

1. Foster the cultural transition from Sage to Mentor
2. Set engagement contract between mentors and learners that is loose enough to allow thriving interactions but sets expectations
3. Create community of learners and mentors that helps them find one another
4. Empower learners to bring in informal learning into spectrum - actively enage in their own education.