M.Ed in informal learning

What if there was a M.Ed. degree program in informal learning. It would have to be learned informally -- so as to not breed hypocrites who "talked informal learning but walked formal instruction". The emphasis in the program would shift from what the graduates know -- to the effect they have on other learners. Each participant would upgrade the examples they provide for imitation learning by others. Everyone would be responsible for their contribution to the community. The educational experiences would be initiated and nurtured by staff who think of themselves as learners; not as professors, published authors or experts.

A program like this would have a mission and stay "on mission" naturally. The mission might be "cultivating the ability to affect other learners in ways that yield more informal learning". Everyone would be in the same boat, working on the same mission together. Each would be discovering how to affect others to learn more, to be more curious, and to enjoy learning more. As I mentioned previously:

"Distinctions fade away between instructor and learner, SME and designer, or formal and informal learning... Everyone is committed to developing capabilities and the process effects everyone significantly."

Compare this to conventional college degree programs. There are clear distinctions and power distance between the experts and learners. Instead of working toward a common purpose collaboratively, the students and faculty are working at cross purposes competitively. Professors are also in silos of specialization, fighting turf battles within their academic departments and schools within the university. Examples are being demonstrated to lose sight of the mission, engage in tactical skirmishes and struggle against potential collaborators. Formal instruction is heralded as the way to win, while its effects are obviously toxic, dysfunctional and disheartening.

Most current faculty are teaching in the way they were taught. The cycle of ineffective, formal instruction is endless. There's no way out until a new cycle of informal learning breeds a new generation of capability developers who are "on-mission" and collaborative.


  1. Reminds me of a recent post by Will Richardson, about a degree in social computing. It sure generated a lot of discussion (:-0

  2. Thanks Harold. 55 comments and counting on Will's post! Tim Goree mentioned getting college credit for blogging, but still has to pay tuition for doing what he was doing already to support his own learning. That reminds of Michael Moore's commentary in The Corporation DVD He discovered that corporations had no beliefs that would cause them to oppose his message - all they saw in his films was an opportunity to make money. I suspect colleges have are so far behind the times that they will "dock at any port in the storm" and collect tuition for anything they can get away with. There's also the issue of how addicting it is to generate content, credentials, expertise -- instead of processes and contexts for exploration.

  3. This is a great idea. Any ideas on next steps?

  4. Yes Pete, I've got lots of ideas on next steps. Since you asked, I'll pull them together into tomorrow's post to this blog. Thanks for asking.