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Informal Learning - Science topic

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Nowadays high-quality free stuff is easily accessible to everyone who has internet access. People use those open sources and gain knowledge, skills, and competence in the fields of their choice. In most cases, the understanding and competence level of such people is better as compared to those degree/diploma holders who attend formal schools, colleges and universities. Here a question arises if we should develop a system of assessment to acknowledge the achievement of such people and award degrees and diplomas for which they qualify. I personally believe it would be an injustice if we deprive them of the diplomas and degrees on the plea that they were unable to attend school because of financial or other reasons otherwise they possess the required knowledge, skills, and competence.
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Dear Muhammad Shoaib Ahmedani. Most entrepreneurs think in the long-term dimensions and know that we live in a very dynamic insecure environment. 60 to 85% of the population in any society are employees.
About half of those people get jobs from free enterprises such as you mentioned like plumbers, electricians etc. They get paid according to their performance. Thus, they will make sure that they continuously upgrade and adapt their knowledge and skills.
The other half are employed by public services. Public services are financed by the taxpayers. They have a job description and a contract that assures job security and guaranteed income. They have many rights but no performance responsibilities. This is a comfortable life that is expanding at the cost of the taxpayers.
Unlike the public sector, the free enterprise sector also must create progress, but they must finance new technologies and expansion out of their profits. As tax demand in the Public Sector is expanding, less money is around in the free enterprise sector for financing their own progress. Many countries then go through very difficult times. (e.g., Greece)
To stabilize the country, it should outsource education into the free enterprise sector and have a very small very high-quality tertiary sector for the very bests problem solvers from around the globe. They would then create solutions for very complex problems and sell them to buyers around the globe.
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I noticed your question about technology for measuring social design impact and I feel that this could be done by building and following socially connected digital communities. Smartphones and other mobile devices such as tablets can digitally empower marginalized communities but I have no sense of how much penetration this technology has with your target audience? 
Cheers,
Judy
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Nice Dear Angus Donald Campbell
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Digital practices saturate in students' lives and taking a role of boundary crosser and connecting social practices connecting personal, academic and professional spheres. We could argue that draw from the formal and informal learning contributing to authentic learning.
Please share your views ...
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Keith,
digital tools in informal setting linked to curriculum is becoming very influential. Thank you for sharing your book.
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Kelly Mix has shown that young children in urban US acquire elements of base-10 thinking as early as 3 years old. But would young children in African villages, where subsistence farming forms the basis of the economy, experience this effect? My own research suggests 'no' - but Mix's research suggests that there may be ways to prime such skills, especially through smartphones. 
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Informal learning was once constrained to places like libraries and museums. At one point in time zoos stood little chance of getting grants focused on informal learning. As STEM has risen in prominence I am wondering how informal STEM learning may or may not have changed the definition of informal learning. Where can it take place? Can it happen in schools and if so, under what conditions would it be considered informal, and finally are zoo, businesses, labs, and universities participating as locations for informal STEM learning and under what conditions? What operational definition are you using to include these former bastions of formal education only.
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If you are interested in STEM informal learning I would suggest reading Falk Rennie, Dierking, Stocklmayer and McComas as well as the authors referenced in their papers. The emphasis on informal learning seems to be that it is often driven by an individual's intrinsic interest in a subject and their own motivation. Falk also emphasizes that an individual exerts a much greater degree of choice and control over their learning in informal education. I believe it is Rennie who breaks down the most critical ways in which informal and formal education differ. Either way - a very good read.
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I need references or articles about the relationship between social networking and new framework to connected learning.
 Digital informal learning could become a method?
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How relevant do you think is the construct of "employee strengths at work"? Do individual strengths get identified, deployed or leveraged in organizations? Will leveraging of individual strengths contribute to making the workplace more humanized and individuals happier, more engaged and productive? Your views will be deeply appreciated as it will help me to ascertain the relevance of my current research.
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I think the construct of "employee strengths at work, is a great thing in theory however, I honestly don't see many organizations utilizing their employees strengths to maximize productivity within the workplace. If employers were to really position employees based on their strengths and abilities to complete certain tasks or even re-align their employees to get the job done (based on  individual strengths), I believe life at work would be even better, however I just don't see much of that happening. 
I think to accomplish this construct, it requires supervisors/ upper level  management to step outside the norm, to be creative, to be open, and willing to take let their employees take control. 
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I have a datalab project looking at NEET aged people in 2015 which has education breakdown - perhaps a proxy for low skilled. We have migrant info. migrants are not a focus of the current project but may be for follow up work. I am keen to share the code and encourage others to be using our first results and building a community of enquiry. regards, Deb
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There's some good work done by MBIE in that space.
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Previous research has used various methodologies to study learning experiences including Interpretive phenomenology, descriptive ethnography, narrative and critical incidents etc. I am confused which one is more suitable to study for exploring the learning experiences of entrepreneurs in small and medium enterprises in terrorism struck harsh environment like Kyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan and Afghanistan etc.
Response from senior colleagues will be highly appreciated.
Regards
Arif
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It seems to me, it is important that these entrepreneurs can exchange their experiences, reflect on them and get to relevant insights (maybe for some individual or common action steps which they see as wishful and possible). Such an activity (almost like a focus group or a community of practice) can be accompanied by a descriptive research concerning conditions, process, content and outcomes. Based on a sample of such kind of case-descriptions some relevant insights concerning this approach can be formulated and evaluated to improve future practice.
Maybe the model I described in the attached publication could be helpful for the exchange  process in the group settings, although you have to adopt it to your circumstances. Wishing you and the people under concern all the best in this undesirable  circumstances. 
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Why would Asians find MOOCs recorded by Asians more catchy than European or American MOOCS? 
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Because the content would be culturally relevant and sensitive. See the attached that shows what happens when you have U.S. centric curriculum for international students.
Best regards,
Debra
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I am investigating after-school informal learning opportunities in both face-to-face situations and through mobile learning offerings. The context relates to communities living in poverty where 'cash transfers' are used to affect positive behavior change. I know there is not much evidence from Southern Africa, but wondering what there may be that is not yet published. The interest is not strictly limited to cash (in-kind incentives such as airtime vouchers, or shopping vouchers would be included).
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Thanks this is helpful to know about the Phillippines experience - thank you for sharing with us.
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The relationship between formal and informal learning is a contentious issue that has fueled much debate in education. It appears as if the two learning approaches belong to completely different worlds. However, “knowledge is constructed via interactions between and among the learner and the social world” (Crotty, 1998; p. 282), which includes school, home, the community, as well as the virtual world. Thus formal and informal learning are, theoretically, closely connected and interdependent. Yet, in practice, school learning environments rarely reflect such connection and interdependency.
Is it viable to deformalize school learning and bridge this gap, and, if so how? What role may mobile technology and mobile learning play in this process?
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Some students require explicit exposure, exposition and explanation, and do not learn through casual observation.  They do not recognize what is seen/heard unless someone or something (computer) calls attention to specific content.  Such students can learn and retain content, but do not have background knowledge or interest that leads to contemplation and connection.  Therefore, considering informal schooling for basic skills and knowledge produces haphazard and inconsistent mastery.  When 1:1 pupil-teacher contact is available (or small groups) an alternation be tween explicit formal instruction and interest-explorative can provide variety.  Any system used as the only way misses the need for individualizing.  Excellent teachers generally attend to interests and abilities for both individuals and groups.  Having an overall context of relevance and interest puts leads students through internal motivation. The teacher can call attention to the relevance of content by using the four aspect quadrants of Crary interests in any lesson content: Scientific-Quatitative, Creative-Aesthetic, Humanistic-Ethical, Vocational-Technical. Devoting one minute of examples for each of these aspects during a lesson connects to the personal agenda of each student in both formal and informal deliveries. 
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Do you have any tips to share or approaches to building a personal learning network with like minded colleagues in Twitter?  
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I agree with the four previous responses and would add that it can often be a good way to see a sample of the key issues at the moment as well as terminology being used in those issues.  I would suggest using the built-in Lists function for following accounts in different subject areas, using an automatic Tweet archiving tool, and trying out one of the Twitter account tools like TweetDeck (used it a while ago so I can't say whether it's still valuable).
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There are loads of mnemonic-techniques out there ranging from method of loci to musical mnemonics. It is my understanding and experience that mnemonics can increase the amount of information learned and prolong the period in which it can be recalled. I think musical mnemonics is a great example since one can easily realize the vast amount of lyrics from regular songs that one can recall. Imagine if these songs were enconded with meaningful information...
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Dear Laurie, Bo and all, I add some parts of my review.  Mnemonics are tools for recall, not for comprehension.  Students already understand the material and can apply their knowledge. But mnemonics are helpful for RECALL to connect 'the new, unfamiliar information that must be learned and remembered with information that is already known by the learner, with the use of visual and auditory cues. 
But I do agree that mnemonics are the best memory tools for the one who created them.
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I am researching learning models and would like to know which attributes are important.
At this time we think of the following attributes:
  • Student personal information
  • Learning Styles
  • Attributes of competence
Or if you can suggest any paper.
Thanks
Mauricio Ramírez
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Others atributes to measure:
-Motivation to learn and e-learn.
-learnig strategies
-habilites for e-learnig
-emotional disposition to e-learnig
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Informal knowledge = knowledge you obtain speaking to colleagues (e. g. while drinking coffee in a coffee kitchen or while having lunch together).
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@John, great response you provided here, but I am curious to know from you if informal knowledge is synonymous to tacit or implicit knowledge, because I think otherwise. On the original question, informal knowledge is surely interrelated with organizational resilience,,,however, such interrelation would be positive when the owners of such knowledge are willing and disposed to share such knowledge. A paper on employees' altruism and organizational adaption by Jaja and Gabriel (2014) can be useful. Because, sharing informal knowledge can be seen as an altruistic behavior and such behaviour was found as positively associated with adaptation which is a measure of organizational resilience.
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Mobile gaming is becoming increasingly popular among the general public with 'casual gamers' featuring as the new breed of gamers. Is there any evidence showing learning benefits from the use of commercial mobile games? Are there any commercial mobile games that have been both popular and of learning benefit?
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Dear Christothea,
At this moment, one of the most popular mobile "games" for learning is Duolingo, a free iPhone and Android app that can be used to learn foreign languages. It has a large, growing community which helps to implement new languages. I say "game", because it's actually more a form of gamification than an actual game. There have been studies on the effects of Duolingo (https://www.duolingo.com/effectiveness-study), but these have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal. 
As you probably know, learning effects of commercial video games have been demonstrated in various fields. However, there are few studies that focus specifically on mobile games. You might find this article interesting: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21529831
Yours,
Maarten Jalink
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I am looking for good papers on the concept of interactivity within a science museum - how can we design interactive museums to enhance learning experiences and science literacy?
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Yes! Nancy Renner's great work on embodied interactivity in museums. http://ucsd.academia.edu/NancyRenner
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I am interested in research about community outreach programs as part of science museums. Any books, papers, articles that highlight such initiatives and assess their impact are appreciated.
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Hi Bisan,
You can get it from the link.
I hope some of the ideas in it are useful!
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A colleague of mine is working with a teacher and her students on a fossils project and they are looking for a good book that can help them classify the specimens they have found. Does anyone have recommendations? The ages of the group are 10 - 14.
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