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Major Characteristics of Informal Education

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Major Characteristics of Informal Education essay
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  1. It is a self learning process.
  2. It is a lifelong process of an Individual
  3. It has no definite curriculum or definite aim or definite course.
  4. No fixed time limit
  5. There is no proper planning
  6. It is a natural process, hence there is no mental strain
  7. There is no specific age required
  8. Agencies of informal education are: Home, Family, Society, Club, Religious institutions, Media, Peer Groups.

Elaborating and Justifying two characteristics which I feel are the most important:

Self Learning

Self learning is a way of learning subject that involves studying alone at home, rather than in a classroom with a teacher/ instructor. A person who has learned a subject without the benefit of a teacher or formal education is called a self taught person.

Why is self learning important? It helps an individual in

  1. Understanding How to Learn
  2. Learning without External Aids
  3. Preparing for the future

A self learning individual has the freedom to learn a little about everything or they can hard work in mastering a particular subject. They have their own control of learning which drives them further in the ultimate success on a personal and financial level. This stands true especially in today’s context of economic growth of individual running their own business. It is more fun than being taught at. Self learning is the wave of future now that so much information is available at our fingertips.

Benefits of self-learning

  1. Student becomes an independent thinker and learns to accept responsibility.
  2. Student earns accountability and gains opportunity to develop good work ethic.
  3. Students learn where to go when help is needed and has the courage to look it up on their own.
  4. Self learning eliminates hindraces for not reaching one’s potential. It will never be someone else’s fault if the student doesn’t learn.

2. Life Long Learning

Lifelong learning (Colloquialism) is the “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated” pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. It enhances social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal development, self-sustainability, as well as competitiveness and employability. A learning approach that can be used to define lifelong learning is heutagogy.

Why is Life Long Learning Important? It helps an individual in

a) Discovering and developing their inborn abilities or gain interest in learning new .

b) Understanding the fact that there are more than one side to every issue.

With lifelong learning, the goals may not be so clear-cut. Lifelong learners tend to keep themselves motivated with the desire for more knowledge and self-improvement, or there may be career aspirations in mind. The most important aspect to lifelong learning may be its beneficial effect on general wellness.

Benefits of life long learning

  • A life time of learning can keep both the body and mind in shape.
  • Lifelong learning means exploring the things that make you tick, expanding your horizons and becoming an active participant in your personal and professional life.
  • Lifelong learning enriches your life with the things that spark your curiosity, simply because you want to know how, what or why. The subject may be personally significant (e.g., learning about genealogy to trace your family roots), but you do not need to be enrolled in a formal degree program to develop your own interests.
  • Lifelong learning can also fortify and round out the skills you need to excel in the working world.
  • Depending on the nature of your work, your place of employment may provide (or inform you about) relevant courses, expositions, seminars or even travel opportunities designed to help you perform better, network and advance in your field. Such opportunities are usually strictly optional, but taking advantage of them may give you a professional edge.



As 21st century is being noted as the boon in the development of science and technology, the impact of media goes in line with the top priority in the techno-revolution. Nowadays the electronic gadgets like mobile phones, tablets, iPads, laptops and etc. becomes the part and parcel of the youngster’s life, so the impact of media on younger generation is abundant. Face-to-face communication in interpersonal relationships is replaced with communications via technological devices. Let’s see how social media has become a learning tool in today’s era.

Social Media

Social media refers to the modes of interactions and exchange information, ideas in virtual communities and network. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, YouTube and Video has become the platforms for the virtual social lives created by people over the internet. It paves way for the learner centered education. There are specific social media sites aimed at education, such sites are safe because they are restricted to individuals seeking to learn a particular topic and educators to closely monitor interactions. Discussions and brain storming are integral part of learning and social media offers the best virtual platform for constructive discussions. It helps in creating a common room for sharing and processing information among students and staffs. Learning management systems such as Moodle (currently used for our study at University of Pasadena)and Blackboard are being increasingly used by educators to distribute lecture notes, to serve as a portal for group and individual assignments and as a chat forum for discussions and doubts.

The pros of social media as learning tool:

  1. It is familiar and comfortable to use
  2. Easy to research information online and less expensive and affordable.
  3. By using these platforms we gain knowledge and skills are improved.
  4. Endless range of resources right from the personal info of a public figure up to learning new languages be the linguistic or programming are easily available.
  5. If done through a controlled environment with frequent interaction of educators and learners, this enhances the communication skills.
  6. It has the potential to approach to varied learning styles like kinetic, audio or visual learning.
  7. Provides a platform to the shy and slow learners to actively participate on the online mode.
  8. It benefits people to get connected and share information throughout the world.

The pros of social media as learning tool:

  1. Without a proper supervision and control of youngsters there is a high chance of distraction to unwanted sites.
  2. Cyber bullying is rampant on social networks, and it is something teachers need to be aware of and closely monitor the kids with.
  3. Impact on social skills that children need to learn. Lack of face-to-face interaction.
  4. There are constant changes , updates in security settings — of which schools and teachers must keep up to date.
  5. High risk of malware infections are breeded by the social networks to lure the children and adults to exchange personal information
  6. Possibility of inappropriate content sharing among learners and others.
  7. Over exposure to Social Media has an adverse effect on the behavior, growth and self esteem of a learner
  8. Uncontrolled usage has a effect on the child’s health condition.


In today’s era of technology, Social media has a vital role as a learning tool. If the pros and cons are understood perfectly well and used wisely social media has a better impact over an individual. Risks and crimes on Social Media arises day to day. It is in the hands of the user or individual or parents and teachers, social media to become a learning tool effectively.

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

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