Informal Learning


Formal, non-formal and informal learning

There are a variety of theories and models that try to explain what learning is and in which environments it leads to which results ( for an overview see e.g. Cassidy, 2004 ). It differentiates between three basic forms of learning: formal, non-formal and informal learning. Eshach (2007) characterizes these with an underlying continuum of factors such as a given structure, learner centeredness and self-determination possibilities.

Learning by dealing with the topic

In an organizational context, around 70% – 90% of learning occurs informally and continuously (Cerasoli, Allinger, Donsbach et al., 2018) . That means not through directive-formal training, but parallel and interactive with the actual activity. We learn a lot more by dealing with a topic ourselves than by repeating given content. We learn particularly successfully when the task we are dealing with has intrinsic value. This is especially true if we have developed metacognitive regulatory mechanisms, i.e. have dealt with the issue itself, and have a high level of self-efficacy (Credé & amp; Phillips, 2011; Bandura, 1994) .

Assuming self-determination

However, these self-related factors in learning presuppose that a certain level of self-competence has been developed. However, this is the responsibility of the learner. Informal learning, and thus learning in itself, is therefore fundamentally linked to personal responsibility, self-determination and meaningful values. That children get to know and design these concepts both in their everyday life and in dedicated learning environments should actually be the norm. In rigid formal frameworks, which are often found in schools, this is only possible to a limited extent and is largely not desired. Only by adapting the structures and content to the individual needs of the children can it be guaranteed that they not only learn to experience themselves, but are also accepted as fully fledged individuals.

Learning experience with patiki

At patiki, the children themselves choose which topics they want to approach and are supported and not forced. The teachers encourage the children to engage constructively with learning, with the topic and with the learner, and see themselves as part of the process and not as an authority. The form of learning here is significantly less formal and alternates between non-formal types for supportive activities and informal types for discussion. This common self-experience is not thought of statically, but is constantly adapted to new environmental conditions, curiosity and interests and thus becomes a common becoming.


  • Bandura, A. (1994). Self-efficacy. San Francisco: Wiley Online Library.
  • Cerasoli, C.P., Alliger, G.M., Donsbach, J.S. et al. (2018). Antecedents and Outcomes of Informal Learning Behaviors: a Meta-Analysis. J Bus Psychol 33, 203–230. & Nbsp; https: //
  • Credé, M., & amp; Phillips, L.A. (2011). A meta-analytic review of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire, Learning and Individual Differences, doi: 10.1016 / j.lindif.2011.03.002
  • Cassidy, S. (2004) . Learning Styles: An overview of theories, models, and measures, Educational Psychology, 24 (4), 419-444, DOI: 10.1080 / 0144341042000228834
  • Eshach, H. (2007 ). Bridging in-school and out-of-school learning: Formal, non-formal, and informal education. Journal of science education and technology, 16 (2), 171-190.
Scroll to top