Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Learning About Learning

So I've been exploring the literature on informal education this week, and the most fascinating and relevant research I've found is taking place here at UW at the Learning in Informal and Formal Envrionments (LIFE) Center. LIFE is an NSF supported collaboration between UW, Stanford, and SRI International with the goal of understanding social factors in learning. That is, understanding how social interactions affect learning will help educators design more effective ways of learning (for example, curriculum, environments, leadership).

Check out this infographic that attempts to show the learning environments that LIFE Center researchers study. I think it does a better job showing how much glorious time people have for informal learning. However, I would argue with that figure, 5.1% of formal learning environment in grad school. Maybe "formal learning environment" refers only to the few hours a day I have an instructor in a room with me.

LIFE Center: Stevens, R. Bransford, J. & Stevens, A., 2005

My group members should check out LIFE Center's page on Theory Gates and Social Learning Drivers. The theories should feel pretty familiar after engaging in the Makerbot group.


  1. Yes, it does refer to just the classroom time. Also, the chart doesn't capture the third dimension that LIFE researchers talk about (the first two being life-long and life-wide), which is life-deep, recognizing that the strength of relationships and diversity of interactions and participants matter.

    Finally, are you sure those are the right credits for the graphic? I'll check and get back to you.

  2. Ah, I see the credits come from their website CC cite... That's funny that I never knew attribution credits for my own research center's graphic. :)

    BTW, Beth is on my committee which is why I'm following this blog. ;)

  3. Ooh, life-deep. That sounds interesting. Does that have anything to do with how well you learn something, I wonder?