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Here's a Venn diagram I created to position Social Learning at the intersection of formal and informal learning.

[rel] David Foster Wallace talks about how we extract meaning from experience (↬Maria Popova which I've added below (click on the image and scroll right).
[rel] DFW's speech, visualized:
[rel] " in the near future, all learning will be boundary-less. All learning content will be computational, not contrived or prestructured. All learning will be granular, with coherence formed by individual learners. " -
Dan Pontefract's profile photoMeg Tufano's profile photoHarold Jarche's profile photoJoachim Stroh's profile photo
Excellent! Thanks for the link, Rawn.
Social or collaborative learning is a good way to describe the learning the happens just in time and in context, formal or not. I think the key is to approach models for learning the same way game designers do. They design an environment where goals are pursued, usually by multiple players, build in feedback loops, place resources and information throughout the environment both as in game hints and from characters, and order challenges from easy to harder in an attempt to apply the principle of flow. Game based learning is all about learning by doing.

Effective learning (which we're all after right?) can be designed by applying the principles of game design. You don't have to design literal games though. The ideas I described above can easy apply to any learning experience.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on learning-by-doing and learning>doing>sharing, Henry and Blair!
Thanks, Robert! +Dan Pontefract has recently posted about a wonderful analogy with Best Buy's Express kiosks. I've included this in the above image (click on it and click to scroll right) to better explain the "dynamic knowledge assets". Here's the link:
+Joachim Stroh I've often thought of the hallway outside my classroom as the "informal" learning area; and tried to incorporate that kind of experience into my online course designs. Can you explain a little more about what you mean by "Experience?" (I assume you are identifying it as being static and dynamic depending on the context? Could not quite tell because the red box is a "static knowledge asset." Thank you.
Hi Meg! The hallway outside the classroom is a great example of an informal learning space! It's where you exchange knowledge/look over the shoulder of your classmate to learn. The "dynamic assets" are smaller chunks of the knowledge transferred (e.g. a cheat-sheet, a video clip etc.), see my updated chart when you click on the above image and scroll right (can't replace an image in G+). The experience is really in applying/embedding these assets in your own work context and among other colleagues (or classmates) - "look what I've learned here, let me show how this applies to our lab project!"
Thanks for stopping by, Dan! You've done so much great work on this topic. One important part is to spell out the different modes/sets for learning so we can put the (informed) user firmly at the center (being able to connect the dots).
I'm not sure I would put social learning as the intersection between formal and informal learning.

"Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. Fortunately, most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action." - Albert Bandura, Social Learning Theory (1977)
I see it as a placeholder, Harold, similar to "Social Business"; it can go either way (with social now being more on the formal side). The intersection contains both formal (structured/static) and informal (unstructured/dynamic/in-the-flow) elements thus creating a hybrid for learning. So, observational learning could be another form of social learning. Watching (and learning from) others is the informal, creating a (transferrable) model is the formal aspect. Also, on "relying solely on the effects of their own actions", I can see a nice tie to the tension between individual and collective sensemaking [1].

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