Informal/Formal learning and MOOCs

Sarah Eagle writes: I’ve joined the MIT Media Lab Lifelong Kindergarten course Learning Creative Learning  which is my first experience of a MOOC (massively open online course). Several strands of this course are likely to interest others in the Learning Lives theme.

A screenshot of the home page of the course

Mitch Resnick and a lot of lego: the homepage for the Learning Creative Learning online course

During week 2 (the syllabus is here) informal/formal learning is a topic for discussion, and in the online seminar a brother and sister, Joi and Mimi Ito, who have followed very different paths, discuss their experiences. Mimi Ito is an academic at the University of California, Irvine. Joi (her brother) says:

I think it’s fair to say that the most important thing that I learned in my formal education was touch typing in junior high school and possibly the importance of camaraderie and athletics during high school wrestling. Despite my completely dysfunctional relationship with formal learning, I’ve been able to learn enough to run companies, give talks and be allowed to go to some of the same conferences as my sister.

Each week, the course participants are given a set of readings, video clips, an online seminar and an activity. In week 2 we were asked to think about informal learning in our own lives, and the activity was to read Seymour Papert’s essay on the “Gears of My Childhood” and write about an object from your childhood that interested and influenced you.

Following the emerging traditions of interacting with other students on a MOOC, I’ve tweeted and posted my response online. I’m interested in watching the way a MOOC works (or doesn’t) and would be pleased to hear from others in the Learning Lives theme who share this interest.


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