Imagine being told exactly how to learn or study something, at what place, and at what time. That rarely happens because everyone learns in their own unique way.
As we mature, we tend to customize our lives to better fit our objectives. So why wouldn’t we do the same for something as important as learning?
Informal Learning helps us do just that. Online libraries that store informal learning content can prove to be very useful for both the learner and the teacher.
What is Informal Learning?
Informal Learning puts a spin on more traditional, or “formal” learning. The formal structure of learning typically involves an expert or instructor, a physical place, start and end dates, and physical training materials. Also, the instructor typically has control over how fast the content is covered.
With such a strict format, it is hard for this style to be useful to every learner in a group. This is where informal learning comes in. Informal learning involves the training material being available online or in another easily accessible format. This puts the learner in control of how fast they want to cover the material and allows them to skip over content that may be less relevant to their end goal. It’s essentially knowledge on demand.
Informal learning can also be created by anyone who has knowledge in a specific area. For example, I know how to use WordPress fairly well. I could create training content walking others through how to use WordPress, making me the instructor. With informal learning, anyone who has expertise in specific areas can share their knowledge with others.
So how do you create an informal learning library? One simple and cost effective way is to create a learning library of screencasts.
Creating an Informal Learning Library with Screencasts
Step 1: Create Your Content
Before we can create a library of any kind, we need content to go into the library. You can easily make training content with screen capture software, such as Snagit. Snagit allows you to take screenshots or video of your computer screen so you can walk through content on your computer, narrate as you go, and record the whole experience. This is a super quick and simple way to create training content that can be watched anytime, rather than needing to arrange in person training sessions. This works particularly well for new employee on-boarding and showing how to use programs that have set tasks, like HR systems and how to submit time off requests, for example.
Step 2: Upload Your Content
Online hosting platforms are great options to store your content online. They also make it easy for people to go and replay them as many times as they wish.
Screencast.com provides a simple way to organize and share content from Snagit and Camtasia with anyone you want. Other platforms, such as YouTube are used to exclusively host videos. Be sure to choose the right platform for you depending on what kind of content you intend to share, and whether you need your content to be private for your audience only.
Step 3: Organize Your Content
Now that your content is uploaded, arrange it to fit how you want it appear to your audience. Playlists are a nice way to sort your videos by topic, time period, etc.
For images, folders allow you to sort your content in the same manner. Certain content might fit with multiple subjects, and in those cases you can include it in multiple playlists or folders.
It might also be a good idea to include an introduction and conclusion video to each topic or playlist. When doing this, you’ll also want to keep in mind how easy you want it to be for your intended audience to find your content.
Some platforms allow you to place tags onto your content. All platforms should allow you to place titles onto your content. Both of these identifiers can be opportunities for your content to appear more frequently in web-searches, and they both also help your intended audience find your content more easily. A true win-win.
Step 4: Share Your Content
The last step is to share your content by either sharing a link with your audience, or sharing it with people individually. When doing this, it’s important to keep in mind how private you intend to keep your content. Adjust the privacy settings of your content as you see fit.
And there you have it! Now you are able to create your own Informal Learning Library. Go you!
Informal learning takes place in the business world, the higher education world, and in our everyday lives. Learning is a lifelong process, so it’s important to not always tie it down to forcing into a certain structure. Informal Learning returns control to the learner and injects life into the learning process.