Exploring the role of ICT in facilitating adult informal learning
This paper investigates the role of information and communications technology (ICT) in facilitating and supporting informal learning in adults. Informal learning garnered through leisure interests, work and day-to-day life is at least as important as formal learning provision, particularly for procedural knowledge like the use of ICTs. Although the potential of ICT for stimulating informal learning has been widely discussed, the area remains under-researched. This paper reports on findings from a two-year study that interrogates how ICTs are being used by adults for informal learning. Based on data from a household survey of 1101 respondents and 100 in-depth, semi-structured interviews, we highlight the range of informal learning that is taking place and how ICT both facilitates and suppresses such learning opportunities. We then translate these findings into recommendations for both current educational policy and practice.