Informal Learning: Some Underlying Philosophies
In the theory and practice of adult education and training, much of the writing on informal learning has focused on three main topics. These topics tend to represent the importance of informal learning as a valid form of knowledge acquisition; they explore how people learn from experience, and they seek to establish how learning from experience can be best facilitated and assessed. A postmodern critique of experiential learning has also emerged which challenges the arguments of each of these perspectives. The postmodern critique asks "why has this form of learning become an important discourse at this particular historic moment?" This article is primarily concerned with the underlying philosophies of these topics. It argues that the uses of informal learning will tend to embody the values and ultimate goals of its implicit philosophy. Developing a socially useful theory to eliminate oppression now requires attention to the elusive conditions of post modernity, and informal learning-at work and in education-is a central feature of these conditions.Résumé
Les écrits théoriques et pratiques sur l'apprentissage informel traitent principalement de trois sujets. On y décrit l'importance de l'apprentissage informel en tant que mode valide d'acquisition de connaissances; on y explore les méthodes employées par les apprenants en situation informelle; enfin, on cherche des moyens pour soutenir et évaluer les apprentissages informels. Une critique postmoderne de l'apprentissage expérientiel remet en question chacune de ces trois perspectives, en posant d'abord la question: «Pourquoi cette forme d'apprentissage occupe-t-elle une place aussi importante dans le discours actuel, à ce moment de l'histoire?» Le présent article se penche sur les implications philosophiques de cette question. On verra que l'apprentissage informel reflète des valeurs, des buts et une philosophic implicites. Afin d'élaborer une théorie sociale utile à la lutte contre l'oppression, il faut tenir compte des conditions cachées de la post-modernité; parmi ces conditions, l'apprentissage informel en milieu de travail et dans les institution d'enseignement occupe une place de premier plan.
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