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Informal Learning with Technology
4-19-10

INFORMAL LEARNING WITH
TODAY'S TECHNOLOGY

In the last thirty years computers and technology in general have become a central part of our lives.  From entertainment to trip planning, the computer has made our daily lives more effective and satisfying.  Technology has also begun to play a major role in education and learning.  We hear about students who are able to attend classes while sitting in bathrobes at their desks at home.  Technology has also had an impact on informal learning as well, and as a result we now have access to much more information than we ever thought possible.  This has had a major impact on informal learning.

Have you ever wanted to learn underwater basket weaving?  Or have you ever wondered how someone can surf while doing a handstand?  Thanks to the computer, these things can be learned as part of informal learning with technology.  All it takes is a working computer that has access to the Internet, and you can find websites that will teach you to do either of those things. Informal learning is much more prevalent with the development of technology as anyone can come across previously unknown areas of interest simply by surfing the Internet. Informal learning with technology has also had an impact on business.  Because of the vast amount of information available on the Internet, it is possible for a person to learn skills that will allow them to fill multiple jobs without having to spend large amounts of time and money to gain those skills through a formal education system. Research in the work environment is much simpler these days due to the vast amount of information available online.

Informal learning with technology also has an impact on people outside the workplace.  If someone is interested in a specific area of knowledge, say the major constellations, they can use technology to find the exact information they are looking for without having to buy an astronomy book, and wading through a mass of unwanted information to find what they are looking for.  This has allowed us to focus our informal learning on specific areas of knowledge.  This helps us to stay informed and interested, and frees up our time to learn about a wider range of interests.   Informal learning with technology has also freed us up to learn in settings that previously were not conducive to learning.  A person can put a CD in their radio and learn to speak a foreign language while they drive to work.

There are many aspects of our lives that have been affected by technology, and learning is no exception.  Technology can be combined with informal learning to quickly improve our worth to a company.  Knowledge is more readily available with the introduction of technology, as anyone can learn new skills or develop a new area of expertise simply by accessing the wealth of information on the Internet. It can also enrich our personal lives by allowing us to learn about topics that truly interest us.  Technology, in combination with informal learning, truly is a beautiful thing.

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