Adapting Informal and Formal Learning Skills for Success in the Virtual Learning Environment

Adapting Informal and Formal Learning Skills for Success in the Virtual Learning Environment

Bob Barrett Jr. (American Public University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4530-1.ch003
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Technology is still evolving. However, two items have remained constant over the past several centuries: the use of formal and informal learning. While not all people have the luxury of attending college and university, informal learning has served as a tool in which a variety of stakeholders have helped others to learn and grow from each other. The key emphasis of this chapter is to focus on these two types of learning, but with a concentration on their relevance in the virtual learning environment. The topics of time management, group interaction, communications skills, and social media will be examined in terms of how these skill sets can be useful to the virtual learner.
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One key aim of this chapter is to explore and examine the “psyche” of the new adult learner in the area of virtual learning. While many adult learners do face a variety of personal, work, and career factors that affect their decision whether or not to return back for additional education, many are now being faced with the decision of whether to attend a live classroom environment or to explore this new approach to education in the virtual learning environment. Historically, the live classroom is what everyone has been brought up to understand as the only method of learning – and this has been a standard and beacon for all to focus their learning interests towards over the years. However, due to many people needed to work several jobs, family obligations, and sometimes work overtime obligations, the live classroom is not an option any more. Rather, many people have been forced with the decision of either attending an online course or not go onward for additional education. With this in mind, many people are hesitant about attending an online course and think this is not really a formal way of education. Actually, they later learn that it is indeed a formal way of learning, but yet they also benefit by the informal learning also gained by the social interaction with others during the learning process and especially in this learning environment.

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