Connecting formal & informal learning

Dave Tosh, co-creator of Elgg, has a model in progress of “how to facilitate the social interaction of learners and resources within the current architecture most institutions employ.” His two-layer model is similar to what Mancomm has developed for a healthcare institutional setting:

Layer 2 Personal Learning Landscape

e.g. Elgg


Learner defined


Layer 1 Course Management System

e.g. Moodle


Institution defined

Task based

By using Elgg linked to a more formal system like Moodle you can provide traditional training & education, focused on specific tasks while encouraging emergent and informal learning in the less structured elgg learning landscape.

In a later post, Dave links to a concept map being developed by Andrew Chambers. This map shows the wide variety of tools currently available for informal learning, in order to organise, connect, create and share. These really are “small pieces loosely joined” for informal learning.

The trick will be in linking informal & formal systems so that the learner can easily move from one environment to another. This is probably the biggest challenge for institutions and their IT departments. If they aren’t linked, then learners may find less use for them. That’s why I continue to recommend the Elgg and Moodle communities because they are actively working on integrating these two layers.

2 Responses to “Connecting formal & informal learning”

  1. Jeremy

    The element of time…This model seems to make a lot of sense. One of the traditional weaknesses of the LMS (layer one) from a learner’s perpective is that it is so focused on a course, and you’d lose writing (AND READING!) access to the site after the course ended. I think one of the greatest benefits of integrating Elgg in layer two is that learners can keep their learning active throughout a program, or even years after a specific program has ended. In terms of keeping access to specific materials, showing progress in learning over time, and developing a learning network, this is the crucial layer.


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