How Your Visitors Engage in Learning
- Informal learning experiences take place outside the classroom and conference room;
- They occur at and across every stage of life;
- They are self-motivated and self-controlled;
- It is so natural that we often take it for granted.
When a visitor engages in such learning, they choose where and how to access information. Because they decides for themselves whether to look up their subject online, or in a library — wherever they feel most comfortable — their knowledge grows more efficiently. Do you recognize some of these learning scenarios?
- Art school students use their own cell phones to access an audio tour in their city's art museum, where they later play with interactive programs on the discovery of perspective.
- A boy and his two best friends watch a documentary on dinosaurs, and then start experimenting with an older sister's video editing software to make their own movie on tyrannosaurus rex.
- Members of a seniors' gardening club view an exhibit on organic farming and conservation, and return with information about composting, rainwater collection, and beneficial insects.
Research confirms that everyone learns more efficiently when motivated by his own personal interests. Given the opportunity, socially and economically challenged communities benefit equally from freely chosen learning. To insure that such learning experiences are available to all, greater public recognition and support are necessary. When we understand, foster, and promote lifelong learning, we ultimately empower our community, and by extension, the world at large.