The Apparent Decline of Informal Learning

December 1st, 1999 | RESEARCH

This paper begins by questioning the narrow definition of learning used in much present writing concerning lifelong learning, which tends to focus on the purported economic and societal benefits of prolonging and widening participation in formal education and training programmes. In contrast, much valuable and non-trivial learning already goes on, and has always gone on, outside formal programmes of instruction. This is true both at work and at leisure. Using evidence from a study of patterns of participation in adult learning in South Wales from 1900, the paper argues that if such informal learning continues to be ignored by proponents of a learning society, as it has been by the authors of the recent green papers, for example, then the result may be an unnecessary exclusiveness in definitions of a learning society, and an unjustifiable reliance on certification as a measure of learning.


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Team Members

Cardiff University, Author
Stephen Gorard, Author
Ralph Fevre, Author
Gareth Rees, Author


Identifier Type: issn
Identifier: 0305-4985
Identifier Type: doi
Identifier: 10.1080/030549899103919

Publication: Oxford Review of Education
Volume: 25
Number: 4
Page(s): 437

Related URLs

EBSCO Full Text


Audience: Educators | Teachers | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Public Programs