Adult Learners’ Informal Learning Experiences in Formal Education Setting

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Schools typically ignore an enormous part of students' learning, i.e. informal learning. Such informal processes include intentional, incidental, and tacit learning and tend to be unnoticed because of their taken-for-granted nature. By conducting in-depth interviews with 15 students, two teachers, and two program coordinators of an adult education program, this study examines informal learning outcomes, processes, and personal informal learning experiences within formal education. The study aimed to reveal the interaction between formal and informal learning as well as the respondents' experiences in this matter. Respondents report a diverse array of informal learning results. Respondents describe informal learning to occur through self-directed learning projects, daily conversations and experiences, and the program's informal and hidden curriculum. According to respondents, informal learning has the potential to enrich and complement formal learn- ing. Moreover, the findings point to potential personal, educational, and societal benefits of revealing informal learning within formal education. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-192
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Adult Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2014


  • Informal learning
  • Adult education
  • Lifelong learning
  • Learning outcomes
  • Learning processes
  • Formal learning


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