Chapter 2

Learning Environments and Learning Concepts

What is the first picture that comes to your head when someone mentions the word learning? Some of you may think of a classroom full of students, others your workplace professional developments and maybe even some of you will think on your own research and informal learning. What is informal learning you ask? Well, it’s the learning that takes place without a formal setting, curriculum or agenda. It’s everyday learning on a day to day needy basis.

  1. Learning can happen in so many varied places and ways in adulthood
  2. To enhance that learning process one must take into consideration prior knowledge and experience if any.
  3. Informally learned life skills are just as important as or maybe even more important than formally learned skills, p28.
  4. It’s important for an instructor, educator or facilitator demonstrate anyone can be an active learner. Once a person sees themselves as active learners, they are more susceptible to intake new information.
  5. Three types of settings to where learning occurs: formal institutional setting, non-formal setting and informal context.
    1. Formal – this type of education is highly institutionalized, bureaucratic, curriculum driven and formally recognized or accredited with grades, diplomas or certificates, p 29.

Where Learning Occurs

i.      This type of education was historically geared towards youth. This has changed due to the innovative times to where community colleges, universities and vocational schools are seeing an increase number of adult learners. This phenomenon can be due to unemployment, changing careers or innovative trends in the workforce.

ii.      Formal instruction tends to be knowledgeable, with an instructor in a classroom or collaborative environment, and well-crafted lectures.

  1. Non-formal – this type is described as organized learning opportunities outside the formal educational system.

i.      They tend to be short term in nature, voluntary and have few or no prerequisites.

ii.      They have a curriculum and a facilitator, they are local and community based.

iii.      Mass media can be classified as a non-formal delivery system.

iv.      Can be used for international response for social and economic needs in third world countries.

v.      Forums can be held in local communities and focus on civic issues.

vi.      Instructors in both types of learning seen above (formal & non-formal) display compressed time and hands collaborative nature of the learning in which the needs and interests of the participants are pivotal for the learning process to be successful.

  1. Informal – the spontaneous, unstructured learning that goes on daily in the home and neighborhood, school, workplace, marketplace, library, museum, zoo and even mass media. For example YouTube, Twitter and FB just to mention a few, p 35.
  2. Online learning – Within the online environment there is what is known as hybrid learning which is 50%-80% of learning done in an online platform such as Moodle, Blackboard, Angel or Desire to Learn. The rest of the learning in a hybrid class is done in a classroom. There is also 100% online which means that all the content, assignments and quizzes are done in an online platform or asynchronous environment.

i.      Asynchronous – learning not existing or happening at the same time

ii.      Businesses have their own intranet in which employees can have access to all training materials and forms they need for the position.

iii.      Local communities often use the Internet for polls, surveys and other citizen participation.

iv.      Diversified methods of learning can include forums, email interaction, chat rooms and wikis.

v.      Video and audio presentations or lectures bring in the human interaction and socialization to break the cold climate of cyberspace.

vi.      Online learning is the only learning that can morph into the formal, non-formal and informal categories.

vii.      Only barriers still present are the digital divide and computer literacy.

Online Lifelong learning

Organizational Learning and the Learning Organization

  1. Learning has always taken place within an organization ever since the industrial revolution started.

In Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective defined the concept of organizational learning. The definition is “it occurs when members of an organization act as learning agents of the organization, responding to changes in the internal and external environments of the organization by detecting and correcting errors in organizational theory-in-use, and embedding the results of their enquiry in private images and shared maps or organization”, p43

  1. It is a flexible concept spanning over a number of disciplines and perspectives.
  2. Businesses and colleges today talk about innovation, integrating newer technologies and improving existing processes because of societal changes.
  3. Senge and The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization defines this phenomenon as “a place where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire…” p 43 bottom parr.
  1. Six imperative actions needed to create and sustain learning organizations:
    1. Create continuous learning opportunities at all levels
    2. Inquiry and dialogues must be present
    3. Collaboration and team learning must be allowed
    4. Establish systems to capture and share learning
    5. Empower people towards a collective vision
    6. Connect the organization to its environment
  2. Today’s learning organization goes by a number of names: adaptive, innovative and resilient. Some features of healthy learning are
    1. Openness across boundaries
    2. The adaptability of people and systems to respond to change
    3. Knowledge or expertise
    4. A culture or system and structures that capture learning and reward innovation

Lifelong Learning and the Learning Society

Lifelong learning

Lifelong learning can be defined as “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated” pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. Therefore, it not only enhances social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal development, but also self-sustainability, rather than competitiveness and employability.

  1. Society became more aware of the need to develop a skilled workforce in order to be competitive in the marketplace
  2. The political-economic ideology of the term “lifelong learning” was adopted in 1996
  3.  There are however varied interpretations of lifelong learning in the US today.
    1. Holford and Jarvis (2000) raise the question of who benefits in the learning society and pointing out that the rhetoric interpretations and reality do not match, p 49.
    2. The notion of constant change also shows the concept of the need for a learning society.

i.      Examples of constant change in a society is US, China and India

Taking it to the Word

This part is where you research scriptures to make comparisons on how the church should respond to lifelong learning concepts and theories.  Write all the theorist and their theories out in an outlined summary to be emailed to Make sure each theory is summarized in your own words and at least 3-8 sentences long. On a separate paper write a 500-700 word essay on one theory and explain how that theory would work or not work within a church or christian organization. ALL UPLOADS TO EMAIL MUST BE EITHER PDF, RTF OR DOC (MS Office 2010) format. Make sure you cite your references, even if paraphrasing. If you don’t know how to cite APA, visit: or  for help on citing APA style. You can also purchase the book:

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition [Paperback]


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