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Measuring and Analyzing Informal Learning in the Digital Age

Measuring and Analyzing Informal Learning in the Digital Age
(2015, Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 335pp.)
An Edited Volume by
Olutoyin Mejiuni (Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria)
Patricia Cranton (University of New Brunswick, Canada) and
Olufemi Taiwo (Cornell University, Ithaca, USA)

Measuring and Analyzing Informal Learning in the Digital Age is a scholarly work that positions informal learning as a field of study with enormous potentials and implications for other academic disciplines. This book addresses the subject of how to measure and analyze informal learning in the digital age from a multidisciplinary perspective: health (breastfeeding, speech language pathology, and surviving cancer); professional development and leadership (of teachers and nurses); online learning (including MOOCs); public administration; human services; community development; and business administration.

Informal learning is central to our lives, and to day to day living, yet it is in the shadow of academic inquiries in many countries in Africa, and the Global North. Even experts who are certified to foster learning among, and explain teaching-learning processes especially to different categories of adults, from young adults to senior citizens, often overlook informal learning. Formal schools and non-formal education provisions do not teach half of the knowledge, skills and attitudes that adults require as they confront new challenges, and negotiate the hills and valleys of life. Adults respect their intuition, they remember stories they had been told, places they had visited, including web sites, books they had read, an innocuous remark they heard at work or in the market, they reflect on these and gain insight with which they either innovate or resolve problems that confront them in particular contexts. We often wonder how persons who did not attend the big business schools became successful business women and men; how local politicians who are unlettered became astute politicians, and how local pharmacists understood the local plants, roots and bark of trees that were used to cure ailments in their communities before the viruses without borders and the huge pharmaceutical industries took over the space.

Throughout the book, the authors either called attention to informal learning as a category (Lauzon) or pointed to the symbiotic relationship between informal learning and formal, non-formal and adult education, or called for a synthesis of informal, non-formal and formal learning.
The common themes that run through the book include: learning experiences; contexts of learning; processes and strategies; outcomes of informal learning; and to a lesser extent, critical perspectives and cultural issues. The common elements among the models of informal learning presented in the book included: learners’ motivation, needs and interests; trust; and mutual respect.

In the concluding chapter, the editors, also observed that:
in measuring and analyzing informal learning, contributors had employed mainly qualitative research strategies, including reflective journals, interviews, narratives, informal conversations, grounded theory methodology, discourse analysis and mixed methods, and they reported the outcome of informal learning, as mainly, positive

the fact that participants in some of the research studies reported in their book gained new insights in the process of interacting with the research instruments and during the research process is remarkable, even though this was not widely reported

twelve (12) out of 17 chapters researched and\or reported tacit and or incidental learning, bringing, tacit and incidental learning right into the middle of the discussion of informal learning in their book. The editors expressed the hope that these forms of informal learning would attract the attention of more researchers.

Citation: Mejiuni, O., Cranton, P., & Táíwò, O. (Eds.). (2015). Measuring and Analyzing Informal Learning in the Digital Age. Hershey, PA: IGI Global