It’s so often said that the most important content of conferences goes on outside the formal sessions and that is proving true of these few days in Milton Keynes. That is not to say there hasn’t been some interesting and stimulating content in the presentations, but it has been useful touching base with a whole lot of people, some old friends and some folk I hadn’t met before.
Out of the various discussions, I’ve got some new leads to follow up in my literature review. There are a number of terms that seem to be spoken about in considering informal learning: social capital, practical intelligence, learning through social action. Will be useful to put these through some search tools.
I had a chat with one of the OU specialist librarians this morning. She has suggested I have a look at the British Journal of Sociology, the Community Development Journal and the Social Science citation index. In looking through some of the material on the shelves, I also came across the International Journal of lifelong education which has references to informal learning. I also found that an OU colleague had included informal learning in her MSc dissertation and had built on this in her PhD. I’ve been in touch with her and got copies of the relevant part of her lit review, her dissertation and a paper she has co-authored with references to informal learning.
I’m starting to collect quite a bit of material around informal learning now – and noting most of the things I am reading refer to this as an under-researched area and problematic because of problems with defining what exactly is meant by informal learning. I still have to start exploring community development in any serious way, but I do know there is a lot in the Sussex library, so I guess I am going to be spending some time there soon.
I must admit I am enjoying myself!