Before academic institutions were established, informal education already existed. It takes on different forms and now, more than ever, proves to be a good way for any individual to learn. But first, we must define this concept.
Informal education basically covers every aspect of learning that doesn’t take place in a normal school setting. Homeschooling, or unschooling, is one of the most common forms of informal education. Going to far-flung areas where the youth can’t go to school is a common way to practice informal education in many third world countries. But for this article, we’ll be tackling a type of informal education that’s not given that much thought.
Self-learning is something any individual can do without needing direct help from teachers. With the advent of technology in the recent years, it’s even more possible to anyone with a computer. Learning extensively about Physics and Biochemistry is made possible due to all the resources provided by technology. Devouring books in local libraries is no longer the only choice to expand your knowledge. Technology offers more options on how you can explore and break the boundaries of human learning.
- Download e-books. Isn’t it frustrating when you want to read a book so much but it’s in a library a thousand miles away from you, and it’s too expensive to purchase? Well, save yourself from scavenging in second-hand bookstores, because all of the books you can dream of can be downloaded online. Buy yourself an e-book reader or a tablet, and spend hours into the night learning about a new language or understanding the intricacies of human behavior. You can either download e-books for free on sites such as Free E-books.net or pay a small price in Amazon.com.
- Visit educational Youtube channels. Home of vlogging and viral internet videos, Youtube has more to offer than you can imagine. There’s a bunch of channels that focus on educational videos. Learn about Advanced Quantum Mechanics, Cosmology, and Technology Entrepreneurship on Stanford University‘s channel. There are also independent groups and individuals that offer a tutorial on every topic imaginable. Just browse the Science & Education channels for more ideas. Youtube also houses thousands of tutorials about the most basic skills.
- Enrol in online courses. If you miss the standard format of education, there are online courses easily available online. What’s even better is that most of them are free. Be it self-paced learning, webinars, or group studies, every field of knowledge is covered in the numerous open education websites. Try MIT OpenCourseWare if you want to learn from established institutions. If you’re looking for a certificate in finishing a course, The Open University deserves a shot.
- Communicate with other learners. Distance learning gives students a chance to explore options to learn from someone other than their teachers. If you’re learning a new language, it’s best to talk to someone who speaks the language. There are sites that offer chances for student to converse with native speakers. Often, these individuals only ask that you help them in learning English, too. This type of learning doesn’t just help you develop a skill but even assist someone to develop theirs. It’s not just through video calls, too, but joining forums and exchanging emails with other learners are good ways to learn about something.
These are merely four of the hundreds of ways a learner can utilize technology. But with these four, a boundless amount of knowledge is already at your disposal.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ella Myers is Creative Writing graduate from New York City. She’s a freelance writer and by next year, she hopes to finish her romance novel.