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Working Definition 


A Provisional Working Definition of Informal Learning
November 20, 1998

By D.W. Livingstone, Director, NALL

Informal learning is any activity involving the pursuit of understanding, knowledge or skill which occurs outside the curricula of institutions providing educational programs, courses or workshops. Informal learning may occur in any context outside institutional curricula. It is distinguished from everyday perceptions and general socialization by peoples' own conscious identification of the activity as significant learning. The basic terms of informal learning (objectives, content, means and processes of acquisition, duration, evaluation of outcomes, applications) are determined by the individuals and groups who choose to engage in it, without the presence of an institutionally-authorized instructor.


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