Lewin, C., Lai, K.-W., van Bergen, H., Charania, A., Ntebutse, J. G., Quinn, B., et al. (2018). Integrating Academic and Everyday Learning Through Technology: Issues and Challenges for Researchers, Policy Makers and Practitioners. Technology, knowledge and learning, 23, 391–407.
This paper builds on work undertaken over a number of years by a group of international researchers with an interest in the potential of connecting academic and everyday practices and knowledge. Drawing extensively on literature and our own work, we first discuss the challenges around defining informal learning, concluding that learning is multidimensional and has varying combinations of formal and informal attributes. We then highlight the potential of technology for integrating formal and informal learning attributes and briefly provide some exemplars of good practice. We then discuss in depth the challenges and issues of this approach to supporting learning from the perspective of pedagogy, research, policy and technology. We also provide some recommendations of how these issues may be addressed. We argue that for the learner, integration of formal and informal learning attributes should be an empowering process, enabling the learner to be self-directed, creative and innovative, taking learning to a deeper level. Given the complexity of the learning ecosystem, this demands support from the teacher but also awareness and understanding from others such as parents, family, friends and community members. We present a conceptual model of such an ecosystem to help develop further discussions within and between communities of researchers, policy makers and practitioners.