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Research Domain: Group Four - Learning and Work Transition

Title of Project: Informal Learning in the Transitional Year Programme at UT

Start Date: April 1, 1998
Academic Investigator: Dr. Rona Abramovitch (UT)
Student Researchers: Carolyn Stallberg-White (UT), Necole Sommercell (UT)

The purpose of this project is to engage in a study of the informal learning of TYP students and faculty and to assess the significant of this learning for formal education. To do so, student and faculty volunteers were recruited for semi-structured, face-to-face interviews. Students were asked a subset of questions used from NALL's national survey on informal learning practices as well as questions that address the learning culture at TYP and its relationship to informally learned knowledge bases. Faculty and staff interviews were structured in a way that allowed for free association regarding the history of TYP, important events, personal and professional development as a result of informal learning, its role in pedagogy, impact on students and so on; thereby allowing the interviewee to lead the interview more or less where he or she wanted it to go. When specific information was desired, a question and answer format was used. Student survey responses will be analysed using statistical techniques such as MANOVA and regression analysis. These responses will be compared to a subset from NALL's national survey, as well as compared with students who do and do not go on to university studies following TYP. Student and staff interviews will be examined using ethnographic methods to identify themes such as the informal learning staff has brought to TYP, what they have learned at TYP, the role of informal learning at TYP and barriers caused by and overcome as a result of student's informal learning (particularly in connection with their formal learning demands) with the TYP/UT.


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The Research Network on New Approaches to Lifelong Learning
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