Formal, Non-formal and Informal Learning: What Are the Differences?

December 31, 2010

Earlier this year I did some applied research on the differences between formal, non-formal and informal education in both the sciences, as well as literacy and language education.

These terms have been used by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) as well as researchers and practitioners around the globe. Here’s a simplified explanation:

Formal education – Organized, guided by a formal curriculum, leads to a formally recognized credential such as a high school completion diploma or a degree, and is often guided and recognized by government at some level. Teachers are usually trained as professionals in some way.

Non-formal learning – Organized (even if it is only loosely organized), may or may not be guided by a formal curriculum. This type of education may be led by a qualified teacher or by a leader with more experience. Though it doesn’t result in a formal degree or diploma, non-formal education is highly enriching and builds an individual’s skills and capacities. Continuing education courses are an example for adults. Girl guides and boy scouts are an example for children. It is often considered more engaging, as the learner’s interest is a driving force behind their participation.

Informal learning – No formal curriculum and no credits earned. The teacher is simply someone with more experience such as a parent, grandparent or a friend. A father teaching his child to play catch or a babysitter teaching a child their ABC’s is an example of informal education.

These may be overly simplified explanations. There are times when the lines between each type of learning get blurred, as well. It isn’t always as cut and dry as it seems, but these definitions give you a general idea of each type of learning.

If you’re interested, the two reports (one I wrote and the other I co-authored), they have been archived in 3 countries are available free of charge. There are links to the full reports here:

Formal, Non-formal and Informal Learning in the Sciences http://wp.me/pNAh3-gX

Formal, non-formal and informal learning: The case of literacy and language learning in Canada http://wp.me/pNAh3-C

Related posts:

Formal, non-formal and informal learning: The case of literacy and language learning in Canada

Formal, Non-formal and Informal Learning: A podcast

Breathtaking Impact of Volunteers’ Contribution to Non-formal and Informal Literacy Education in Alberta

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Here’s a link for sharing: Formal, Non-formal and Informal Learning: What Are the Differences? http://wp.me/pNAh3-q2

If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


How Not to Market Yourself with Social Media

December 22, 2010

“Hi, nice to meet you. I’m Bob,” he said, flashing his winning smile. He shook my hand firmly and authoritatively. He exuded the confidence and charm of leadership.

“I know,” I replied. (Was this a faux pas?) “We follow each other on Faceboook and Twitter. I’ve enjoyed the exchanges we’ve had.”

I was being sincere. We have exchanged numerous “@ each other” exchanges on Twitter and have posted a number of times on one another’s Facebook pages.

He grinned and said, “Oh that stuff. I don’t know much about that social media crap. I outsource that to someone in the Philippines. I just send him money every month and he does all that for me. He’s great, isn’t he?”

Yup. Sure fooled me.

I smiled back.

Now I can see outsourcing a business profile, but at least if you outsource your personal social media to someone, don’t let on that you’re not really who you say you are on line. Don’t brag that you’re not the one out there putting in the time to make connections and have interactions with real humans who might one day shake your hand. It could cost you a real, live reputation for honesty – not to mention referrals.

Outsourcing your personal social media interactions may work for presidents of countries or rock stars, but if you’re a regular business person with only a modicum of fame and fortune, be real.

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If you are interested in booking me for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


Rubrics for Grading Student Presentations

December 20, 2010

This semester I developed some rubrics for grading student presentations in class. They include criteria such as preparation and presentation skills. The rubrics are designed so that they can be used either for native speakers or language learners.

There are 4 different rubrics. I used them with my university-age students. They could also be easily used with adult learners or high school students. For younger grades, you may want to adapt them to their level.

Feel free to use them, share them or let them inspire you to create your own.

Have a quick look here:

Rubric #1

View this document on Scribd

Rubric #2

View this document on Scribd

Rubric #3

View this document on Scribd

Rubric #4

View this document on Scribd

Sometimes the links disappear from Scribd and if that has happened, you can also download them directly from my blog:

Click the link to download –> Presentation Grading Rubric 1 

Click the link to download –> Presentation Grading Rubric 2 (Updated in 2013) 

Click the link to download –> Presentation Grading Rubric 3

Click the link to download –> Presentation Grading Rubric 4 (Updated in 2013)

Update : March 19, 2013 – If you are looking for these and the links do not work, please e-mail me at saraheaton2001 (at) yahoo (dot) ca. I’ll be happy to send them to you.

Related post: Teaching Public Speaking to Literacy or ESL Students http://wp.me/pNAh3-mZ

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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


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