For centuries, people have believed that formal education is essential to succeed in life. And it is still true to a great extent. Even if you look at the successful entrepreneurs, who have dropped out of their colleges or universities, did get formal education till a certain age. But it will be a mistake if you believe that formal education is the only thing required for success.
In the last few decades, we have seen people with informal education are actually doing better in terms of professional success than their peers who only had formal education. In fact, it will not be wrong if you say that informal education in today’s date has the edge over formal education in more than one way. Here is how.
What Is Informal Education?
As the name suggests, this form of learning does not occur in the traditional learning environment. Instead, it results from daily activities related to work, family, or leisure. It is not structured in terms of objectives, time, or learning support. There are 2 features in informal education that need to be constant.
- Centralization of the process on the student, as to his/her previously identified needs and possibilities.
- The immediate usefulness of the learning for the personal and professional growth of the student.
It is important to note that informal education is not limited to students only. People in the professional field are in more need of informal education than students pursuing their secondary education.
Now that you have a basic understanding of informal education let’s discuss the advantages of this education format.
Benefits of Informal Education for the Learners
As discussed, informal education offers a number of great benefits for the learners, including:
- Learning is more effective as the process is completely driven by the learner.
- It offers full control of what the learner is exploring and learning.
- Unlike formal learning, it is more fun and is self-paced, and based on individual interest.
- Thanks to the availability of online information, it is possible to continue informal learning without any significant learning plan.
- Since there is no additional pressure or competition in this form of learning, it is easier to dive into and sustain the momentum.
- It allows you to collaborate with others without any prior preparation, as the nature of this education is informal.
Why Informal Education Is the Need of the Hour?
In today’s competitive environment, employers often look for soft skills, such as communication and people skills, personality traits, and emotional intelligence. While formal qualifications are required to apply for a certain job, your recruitment certainly depends on what else you offer to the organization.
Informal education enables a person to change careers at any point in his/her life. In fact, such individuals often shine in a range of completely different roles than what they initially chose. This begs the question as to whether educational institutes and employers should start focusing more on informal learning than formal education.
Soft skills are the most transferable. While formal education allows a person to develop his/her soft skills, it is important to note that informal education does a better job at helping build such soft skills and Harvard referencing. Most of us learn most of our soft skills – emotional intelligence and better communication while socializing outside the school. We learn more about teamwork while helping our families and friends than in a closed conference room with other team members.
It is quite evident from the discussion that informal education is as necessary (if not more) as formal education. While educational institutes are yet to adopt the necessary measures to facilitate an informal learning environment, big enterprises can certainly pay more stress on developing the soft skills of their employees through informal education.
Author bio: Brian Levi is a career counselor who runs his own office in Sydney, Australia. He is also associated with MyAssignmenthelp.com, where he offers assignment help to students on request. He is a part of a local NGO and takes part in social work.