Centre for Technology Enchanced Learning
Department of Educational Research, County South, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YD, UK
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Educational Research > Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning > Research themes >Digital technologies in non-formal settings

The importance of learning using digital technologies in non-formal settings

Research theme

Non-formal settings are those where groups of learners work together on a single interest area or topic. They might be organised as an out-of-school activity (such as a club or society), or they might be organised by a youth centre or community centre or sports club, for example.

These settings allow learners to work together on a single topic or interest area, but collectively and collaboratively, concerned more with team working and co-operative endeavour, sharing strengths for a common aim or goal. Some important examples of learning arising in these settings have now been demonstrated, and it is clear that they are vitally important for enabling learning to happen in context, in real and authentic situations, leading to outcomes that go beyond a narrow range of skills.

A key report, by Don Passey and Julia Gillen, that highlights the wide range of skills arising in this context is: BBC News School Report 2008/2009: Independent Evaluation.

Don Passey also discusses issues identified across a number of case studies in his book chapter: Educational transformation with open and social technologies in the non-formal school curriculum: An analysis of three case studies in the United Kingdom (2013).

The implications for a future curriculum in schools were highlighted by Don Passey in his Independent evaluation of the Little Big Planet 2 project in Wolverhampton’s Local Education Partnership schools (2012).

A still image from a video game level created in a non-formal school club.

Julie-Ann Sime and Gearoid O Suilleabhain (an alumnus from the Doctoral Programme for E-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning) discuss the issue of learning transfer from video games in a book chapter: Games for Learning and Learning Transfer (2010).

Staff and aliumni working on this theme


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SalTE2016: Stakeholders in Information Technology in Education

Guimaraes, Portugal
6-8 July 2016

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