Our society places a greater emphasis on formal education than on equally important concepts of informal education and incidental learning. My success, as an educator, in business, medicine, and practical theology, has in been facilitated by my attempts to apply informal and incidental learning concepts, whenever possible, outside of the formal classroom setting. This forum may create a learning situation where we share our experiences in the application of these concepts, formal education, informal education, and incidental learning in a relaxed and non-threatening online environment. Thank you. Dr. Haddox
I don't agree that more weight is given to formal education. Most people know that they learn most thing via experience. This form of learning is just harder to document and use in formal ways like on a CV.
In complete agreement with you here. It is very hard to document and sell acquired skills, but employers realise the value of the learned skills through non 'formal' education.
Nope, sorry. Any corporate environment places more value on higher education because they know the discipline it takes to get through that. Not only is the potential employee better equipped but they've proven they can go the distance. People who have not been through 4 years of college or more really don't realize the extent to which you have to put yourself out and dedicate your time to this.
There is much to be said for life experience but it's not common anymore for someone to be able to convince an employer to hire them based on that unless you have a portfolio of accomplishments to document it. There is always the exception, of course, and if you manage to get yourself hired, you can impress and move forward with learned skills. But there's no bluffing anymore so you'd better come really equipped.
Fortunately, there are many entrepreneurs who make their own way but it's likely that when they have to hire someone, they'll end up doing the same thing, scrutinizing the potential employee's portfolio or lack thereof sans a higher education.
I'm not saying that employers don't value degrees and higher education, however in order to get the top level jobs you will also need the informal experience to go with it. I totally agree with you that it shows dedication, commitment and a certain level of key transferable skills which is highly sort after amongst employers. It also gives some very specific knowledge.
I was not debating the value of higher education, mealy stating that employers know the value of experience. They are more likely to hire a person with a slightly lower 'grade' from their degree with a few years of relevant experience that a new graduate.
I hope that I have explained myself better, I hold higher education in very high esteem, it is just not the be all and end all.
There are as many ideas and beliefs as there are many thinkers coming from various cultures and societies. Everybody has a say and I respect everyone's opinions because I do believe that what one sincerely believes works for him/her otherwise he/she would change such beliefs. As far as formal and informal education is concerned, I speak on my experience as an academician for more than 20 years now.
In my experience I've listened to varied contentions both from schools drop-outs, graduates in our school, and the students themselves. Some students would say that formal education is not necessary in order to be successful in life. While this can be true in some circumstances but this would still be dependent on the personality of the given person. A research study was conducted comparing a group of 100 under graduates to another group of 100 who were successful in their formal studies and were able to earn their degrees.. The study was ongoing for five years and the result was that only 10% of those undergraduates have improve their life situation, whereas 90% of those degree holders had finally gone a long way in their living condition. It's not just the employment opportunity we are talking about here. It's the discipline and character building one has experienced when he spent four years of his life in the academe...formal education is a foundation. The knowledge gained in school prepares one to understand why things happen the way they do...whereas the person who learns through trial an errors in the "street" experiences the hard way before he understands why things are happening...he does not have the "foundation" that the formal schools teach.
OP doesn't specify a corporate setting, but all of society. I think society in general values non-formal education very highly. e.g. parenting skills, pop idol winners, extreme sport athletes, etc
Most of the things we value on a day to day basis are not formal job applications, they are just stuff people do that we appreciate or admire.
Thus far, the dialogues have been good, and the learning experiences, at least for myself, have been useful because your comments have helped me to think about and to see formal education and informal education from different angles and from different life experiences.
My past research involving formal education, informal education, and incidental learning was completed in a small Amish community where one-roomed school houses existed. These Amish families sent their children to the one-roomed schools to complete their informal education which ran from the first grade to grade eight. The children graduated from school at grade eight, and received no more formal education after that.
However, their education continued, just the same, as they learned Agri-business, skilled trades, and religion from their parents, older sibblings and. I have to stop here for a moment. I will continue, shortly. Dr. Haddox
In my research with the Amish families in a small Amish community I had an opportunity to observe three methods of learning in progress (1. formal education, 2. informal education, and 3. incidental learning).
As already mentioned, within the one-room school house, grades 1 to 8, informal education was in progress (the three Rs). The children learned English and German languages, because they have to be able to speak both English and German and read both. They must be able to write English also. All church meeting are conducted in German only. The Amish community I worked with, considered themselves Germans, or a sub-culture of the greater American culture. They considered we outsiders as being "English."
Considering incidental learning, this kind of learning can take place inside or outside of the formal classroom setting.
For example, out on the farm, if a bull "cow" attacks you, and you, on your feet, quickly, learn a technique to evade the attack, saving your life, this is incidental learning. It was not learned as part of a formal school curriculum, and it was not planned learning. Also, however, it can be considered informal learning because it occurred outside the classroom.
I am taking too much time and space with theory, here, so I am going to back off and allow you all to carry out dialogues as you wish. Thank you for allowing me to interject my thoughts here. I am not a great teacher, but I try very hard to be the best that I can be.
Consider the following question, "how can we use what we know about formal education, informal education, and incidental to help children and adults in our every day worlds?" How do we apply what we know? This is what matters.
By the way, all of the posts that have been posted thus far by all forum members have been good ones. I have learned from what all of you have said. This is important to me. Thank you, all of you. Dr. Haddox
All the posts have been extremely helpful in our dialogue on formal education, informal education, and incidental learning. It is my hope that we all can say that this experience has been worth our time. Regards. Dr. Haddox
Being an educator myself, I find that some of the greatest methods of effective instruction are by asking relevant, open-ended questions, discussion, working in small teams, hands on, active learning. This works for all age groups. I believe students value education more when their input is respected.
Passive instruction doesn't work so well in the 21st century.
Use every teachable moment and realize lessons are only outlines. I think a lot of learning can take place both inside and outside of the classroom.
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