From childhood to adulthood, everyone learns countless things through informal education. For instance, a child learning his or her mother tongue is an example of informal learning. However, like other types of education, it also has its pros and cons.
However, in this article, I will explain in detail the advantages and disadvantages of informal education.
What Is Informal Education?
It refers to the random and spontaneous lifelong learning of actions, norms, skills, and values, which typically occurs outside of institutional or formal settings. We can get such a type of education from our everyday experiences, educational resources in our own environment, and so on.
Characteristics Of Informal Education
- Learning is unorganized
In information education, there is nothing referring to organized learning. There are zero formulas or guidelines to follow.
- There is no curriculum
Such education does not include any study plan, prescribed procedures, institutional fees, timetable, or anything regarding curriculum. Learners are allowed to learn according to their preferences.
- There is no ending
Such learning is a continuous process of learning for the whole life of a person, which means it has no end. For example, we continue to learn new things from our young generation, when we become old.
- There is no classroom
This is a type of education that does not require any school or place enclosed by four walls, named the classroom. With informal learning, the entire world is your classroom. You can learn anywhere and of course, everywhere, like your home, surroundings, and so on.
- It is spontaneous and accessible
It is possible to have knowledge from anywhere and at any time through informal learning. Someone can be motivated to learn because of his or her instantaneous wish to know or understand something, and such learning is easily accessible.
Why Is Informal Education Beneficial?
People are most likely to remember things they learned from informal education for a longer duration of time compared to other types of education. This is because it includes self-study, research, and practical activities. So it is indeed beneficial to everyone.
In addition, it allows people to pick any kind of studying at any time as per their interests. This makes learning less exhausting and more convenient. It also helps people to attain knowledge and skills needed for daily life.
What Are The Advantages Of Informal Education
The advantages of informal education are given below.
- It is less expensive
It is definitely less expensive than institutional or formal education. This is because, unlike formal education, it does not require a huge amount of monthly or yearly fees. Thus, we can say it is a very affordable form of learning.
- It is less stressful
It neither includes any fixed time for studying, nor any specific rules or formulas for learning. This undoubtedly makes learning less stressful and more comforting.
- There is no examination
Many students hate going to school and learning. This is because of the presence of examinations. However, informal education does not require any exam or evaluation, this is one of the advantages for the students hating tests.
Learners are in full control
Such education gives all the authority to the learners to have the type and time of their learning procedure, and there is no superior teacher or anything like that.
Usually, adult learners seek autonomy and dominance. This type of education gives them full control of their learning process.
- It increases creative skills
It is more practical rather than theoretical. Knowledge gained in practical situations can improve one’s creative skills. For instance, the immediate requirement for solving any problem can improve a person’s lateral thinking.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Informal Education
Below I have mentioned the disadvantages.
- Availability of misinformation
One of the major drawbacks of informal learning is the presence of a great deal of misinformation on different social media sites. This can lead to gaining wrong knowledge about any particular topic.
- There is a lack of discipline
Since learning is personal in this education system and there is no proper mentor, there is a high chance that people learning from informal education will lack discipline and attitude.
- There is a lack of confidence
In such education, learners learn according to their preferences. Sometimes, it decreases their self-confidence, as they might feel the other people around them are much more disciplined and educated.
- It might not give out effective results
Since there is no proper instructor or advice to correct the shortcomings or mistakes, one might not be able to correct themselves.
Besides, due to the unreliable sources of learning it offers, it is widely considered to be less effective.
It is not possible to say that the advantages of informal education outweigh the disadvantages or vice versa. This is because to acquire knowledge all kinds of education is needed. In some cases, it is better to learn through informal learning, whereas in other cases it is better to ignore such education. It depends on the circumstances and topics.
However, whenever you choose to learn informally, try to learn from reliable sources or try to gather information from multiple sources to improve accuracy.