Learning is a natural process and in the age of digital technology, gaining knowledge can take place outside of the structured classroom setting.
Generally, informal learning happens when an individual chooses when, what and how to learn without being restricted to lessons from the classroom.
For students, it can complement their formal learning and help develop their ability to acquire knowledge and skills, whether during their time in school or even upon graduation as part of their lifelong learning.
Informal learning comes in various activities, such as self-studying, watching educational videos, reading articles, participating in online learning communities, joining coaching sessions, and playing games.
Here are some skills that students can gain from informal learning:
Effective time management
Unlike other forms of learning, informal learning is spontaneous and occurs without any set methodology.
This means that students are able to be more effective in managing their own time because informal learning allows them to learn at their own convenience or independent of their lecturers or professors.
Persistence and independence
One of the advantages of informal learning is the independence it provides to students in setting their own learning goals and objectives.
Through such learning process, students are more willing to seek help when needed, work on their lessons daily and deal with any challenges they face throughout their studies.
In other words, informal learning helps build their persistence, internal motivation, responsibility, and a certain level of maturity that will become beneficial when they leave school.
When students are put into a formal learning environment such as a classroom, they don’t typically develop an affinity to learn something new.
Informal learning, on the other hand, lets students learn at their own pace and gain more control on what they are discovering, thus enabling them to have more focus and fun in their studies.
It allows students to satisfy their curiosity and, in the process, helps them to gain more knowledge, pick up new techniques, or hone existing skills more effectively.
Furthermore, with so much information available online, students can take advantage of such access to continuously acquire new learning experiences.
Improved knowledge retention
When concepts are learned over time through repetition and perseverant activities, they are more likely to result in mastery, and this can be achieved more successfully through informal learning.
Without the pressure of having to clear a test, get a decent score, and perform academically well, informal learning allows for continuous, natural learning to occur among students, thus resulting in higher levels of knowledge retention in the long run.