Internet; An Acceleration Factor in Informal Lifelong Learning?
29 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2010
Date Written: January 15, 2010
IT technologies are said to make access to learning easier and cheaper. Virtually all theoretical knowledge is available in one form or another on the web, with possibilities for beginners as well as, in certain cases, for extremely sophisticated users. This availability throws into question the way we learn, especially the younger generation, those having been born with these technologies. This article contributes to this debate, surveying an undergraduate population of 139 students on their learning strategies regarding not only academic theoretical knowledge, as it is traditionally analyzed, but also by studying the different kinds of knowledge that is accessible on the Internet (non-academic theoretical, as well as hands-on learning in all of its varied forms). Data analysis techniques allow us first to identify four structuring factors of online informal learning in relation with Internet use and then to propose a typology of learning behaviors that thus allows us to show the impact of Internet use. We show that Internet use seems to create “multiplier” effects on online informal learning and that this phenomenon is greater for hands on knowledge learning than for theoretical knowledge learning for the student’s studies or outside of their studies.
Keywords: informal learning, lifelong learning, e-learning, Internet, knowledge, quantitative methodology
JEL Classification: I21, D12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation