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.