No doubt Jay Cross or Bob Lee would be more qualified and more eloquent at informing on informal (both were highlights of my conference agenda) but I thought I'd give you a bit of a RTO spin on it.
I think informal learning as it pertains to RTO's is possibly the best thing since sliced bread. Informal learning happens everywhere and all the time. You're even doing it now! It is all that comes before and all that happens after and it isn't something we can control or map or track..... or can we?
Jay Cross and many others talk about informal learning being 75% or more of the learning that happens on the job. So if people are doing all this learning before and during their formal studies why can't they get recognition for it. Well in the VET sector they can.
Isn't RPL a way of tracking informal learning? There is a big push for RPL and new, better and innovative ways to do it, but how many VET trainers and assessors and RTO's in general are using these informal learning experiences of their learners and helping them to shorten their training or expedite their qualifications? Hopefully a lot. I can say I have been able to recognise the potential of capitalising on my past informal learning experiences and have gined RPL the best part of two Certificate IV and am now using the informal learning that occurs in my current role to gain a Diploma.
E-learning and web 2.0 tools can aid this capturing of informal learning. Think about the potential of wiki, blogs, IM etc for use as evidence in gaining RPL for informal learning not to mention ePortfolis (when the dust settles over that debate).
At BJ Australia, we plan on using photo and video capture as a way to record some of this informal learning during our CEDAR project. How are you capturing evidence of informal learning in your RTO or other learning institution? Have you used RPL (especially informal learning) to gain a qualification? Leave a comment, I'd love to hear.
What about the rest of the conference? My highlight breakout session was presented by Robb J Reiner. What a great presenter and topic "How to get the best from an in-house e-learning capability". More about that another blog post though.