Scaling Informal Learning

Theory, Models and Scenarios

In informal and workplace learning, a dynamic interplay takes place between learning in different contexts. Individuals learn in a self-directed manner. At the same time, they participate in collaborative informal learning environments as they are members of groups and communities, organizations and cross-organizational networks.

We addressed the objective of scaling informal learning by examining the interactions between these different learning contexts, and by providing better support for learning that crosses contextual boundaries.

For example, when groups build knowledge, then each individual also expands their knowledge about the subject matter. When organizations join cross-organizational networks, then they may change their work practices when sharing knowledge with others; or when organizations provide ways to connect learning with work practices, then they help make learning more contextualized and meaningful.

Figure 1 illustrates the concepts with which we describe and explain the contributions to our understanding of informal learning as well as to the design of tools in support of such learning. All concepts particularly focus on bridging between learning contexts to enable scaling.

Figure 1

Figure 1: Interactions between learning contexts and our conceptualizations


The following articles address these interactions in various ways and provide an overview of the concepts we developed and the evidence we have collected over the previous four years: