How do you document informal learning?

How do you document informal learning?

My growth as a learner has skyrocketed in recent years, as I became a connected learner. I believe I have learned more about teaching, learning and technology’s role in the process from self-directed, network supported interactions then I did in many of the formal educational opportunities in which I have participated. I am sure many of you feel the same way.

My children are also connected learners and participate in many opportunities outside of traditional schooling.  For example my daughter participated in a writers forum, where they challenged each other in creative writing projects.  They wrote, critiqued and re-wrote.  She worked on theme, writing style, tense, voice, dialect, setting, etc.  She is also interested in propulsion options in space and is researching spacecraft design.  She is immersed in learning. My son runs a guild in World of Warcraft. He organizes a group of people, manages assets, plans strategies and often needs to assist members in getting along. He deals with personnel issues and is learning management strategies.  Their school transcripts do not reflect their skills, knowledge and talents. How would my children document their learning?

I have been in the process of converting my resume into a curriculum vita, and quantifying what I know and how I know it. This is not an easy process. I have been looking over many CV from a wide range of sources.  What I am lacking is published writing.  I guess I have been so busy doing, that I have not taken the time to stop and write.  As many of you suggested, we need to have products to support our learning.

There are increasing opportunities to learn what you want when you want. Traditional learning environments are not the only learning environments.  Maybe the traditional way of documenting our learning and experience will also need to change.  A while ago I asked my network what they thought about this question.

How to document or create a resume for informal learning?  Should it be done?

Here are some of the responses I received. To see the complete survey results for this question and the others I asked please visit the spreadsheet.

  • I’m not sure. I’d just post links to my PLN’s if I could, or maybe create a list of books and a link to my reflections if I was applying to an organization who understood what I was doing.  If they didn’t understand, say I *was forced* to take a position in that type of organization, I’d just make a list of skills that I’d developed that they’d understand.
  • I don’t think we can — yet.  I do not believe that informal learning has reached a level of recognition that would prove to be beneficial to have it listed on a resume.  Aside from the fact that you’ve been drilled that resumes cannot be more than 2 pages!
  • I created a wiki for my resume.  On it I included awards I have won, articles I have written and ones that have been written about me.  I also included links to my blog, to my twitter page, and to my NING pages.  PLN was most important to demonstrate.
  • I created a wiki that I’m able to keep many of my ‘resources’ when I have teachers who are looking for a quick fix of pd.
  • Good question – hadn’t though of that…guess because I’ve not had a need to document it.  It probably would be good to do and maybe we do it through our tweets/plurks, blogs, video creations, etc.  I know that I’ve reflected on my informal learning through these venues.
  • The best resumes I have seen talk about skills and abilities a lot and college degrees and formal learning not so much. More and more people are realizing that almost everyone learns far more out of school than in it, and that what one does with one’s learning is more important than how one acquired it.
  • I think that some sort of e-portfolio should be kept for all learners (teachers and students).
  • We need to be able to look back and reflect on our learning journey. I think there should be something added to the resume or maybe the resume needs to be revamped.  Especially for teachers who take P.D. courses and adminsitrators who are networking via listservs, twitter, nings, etc.
  • I don’t know how to document this.  I guess I do it by teaching it to others or doing it myself.  Yes, there should be a way to showcase the new skills we acquire as lifelong learners.  Maybe I should set up a wiki with all the links to my new products and presentations.
  • I never thought of creating a resume for my informal learning.  I agree with your thoughts Beth.  I have learned more in the last few years through my self-guided explorations than in my formal learning environments.  I suppose a blog or journal may be an effective way to document the learning journey.

3 thoughts on “How do you document informal learning?

  1. Beth, this varies by the import of the informal learning, doesn’t it? If I learned to cook perfect rice, I’m not going to put it on my resume. On the other hand, if I spent two years circling the globe to look at archeological digs, I’d definitely list it.


  2. I would agree. But I was thinking of all the reading I have done, webinars and conferences attended, and discussion I have been a part of. How do you quantify that? How do you document that sort of growth? I guess in the world of academia that is why people publish, it is demonstrates your understanding of a topic.

  3. I think there are ways to document informal learning on a resume. Often people list a section entitled “Hobbies and Interests.” This is often one of the only free form sections that allows for a little personality. Many times people list what they like to do or compete in. Why not use it as a section to show what you have done outside the formal arena and list how you think it has improved your teaching ability? If you are interested in technology in the classroom why not list it as an interest and show what you know?

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