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The Man Who Wrote the Book on Informal Learning

Scrolling through our Twitter feed on Monday, I saw several references to Jay Cross.  Jay wrote the book Informal Learning: Rediscovering the Natural Pathways That Inspire Innovation and Performance in 2006. Jay credited Peter Henschel, director of the Institute for Research on Learning (IRL) with the term informal learning but Jay’s book became the popular go-to reference on the topic.

Jay died last Friday.  Jay did not know Lisa and me but we knew who he was. Jay was an elearning visionary and used the internet to broadcast, test, and refine his ideas, make friends, and engage with colleagues around the world. Many loved and respected him. Harold Jarche writes about Jay here, Jane Hart gathered Twitter tributes to Jay, and Clark Quinn linked in this blog post to many people who cared about Jay, and were changed by him.

Anyway, I re-opened Informal Learning and tried to capture–graphically–a few key points that resonate with me. I hope they enrich your understanding of informal learning aka free-range, self-directed, and DIY learning and some of the changes prompted by the worldwide connectivity of the internet. Read more

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Rheingold U

From its website

Rheingold U. is a totally online learning community, offering courses that usually run for five weeks, with five live sessions and ongoing asynchronous discussions through forums, blogs, wikis, mindmaps, and social bookmarks. In my thirty years of experience online and my eight years teaching students face to face and online at University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University, I’ve learned that magic can happen when a skilled facilitator works collaboratively with a group of motivated students. Live sessions include streaming audio and video from me and from students, shared text chat and whiteboard, and my ability to push slides and lead tours of websites. Future classes will cover advanced use of personal knowledge tools, social media for educators, participatory media/collective action, social media issues, introduction to cooperation studies, network and social network literacy, social media literacies, attention skills in an always-on world.

Summary

Howard Rheingold teaches “Introduction to Mind Amplifiers,” “Toward  New Literacy of Cooperation,” and “Think-Know Tools” among other courses offered on a rotating basis.  Rheingold tells prospective students that the courses will demand them to devote significant time to reading, conversation, live session participation, and collaboration on group projects. All courses are based on peeragogy–a learning model–that places as much value on peer-to-peer interaction as on teacher-learner interaction.  Rheingold is also a prolific and respected author known for groundbreaking books such as The Virtual Community (1993); Smart Mobs (2003), and Net Smart (2012).