Learning by gathering usually happens in schools. Successful gatherers receive diplomas to confirm the result of their successful gathering.
On the other hand learning through experience happens for example at the workplace. One learns something new every day through the work one is doing – if one is a learner by nature. Experiential learning happens also in choir singing and dance groups, non-formal language courses etc.
Accidental learning or informal learning happens through reading, discussions, thinking, listening. Hasn’t it happened to every one of us that without a greater concentration or effort one suddenly understands something much better than before? This kind of learning just happens!
The problem today is that we have valued the type of learning that consists of gathering knowledge and skills in classrooms, auditoria, and laboratories for already long time. At the same time experiential and informal learning at work places, non-formal training centres or hobby groups has been underestimated until now. For instance in Estonia the learning of new songs in a choir is normally not regarded as learning, education, knowledge or skill but rather just as a way to spend one’s free time. Knowledge acquired through independent reading, discussions and thinking has also not become to be recognized as learning yet.
Positive changes in these matters luckily seem to be on their way. Both the Nordic and Baltic countries are now attempting to find methods to validate the experiential and informal, accidental learning. Conferences, joint research projects have been launched to reach this aim. Hopefully we will soon learn to give experiential and accidental learning the value it deserves.
In the current issue of DialogWeb you can read about the adult learners’ experiences of validation in the Nordic countries and Estonia and what the future perspectives look like.
Enjoy the reading!
Baltic editor of DialogWeb