Differences Between Informal & Formal Education

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Education is the key to success, and a multitude of success stories can attest to this fact. Even the most illiterate person in the world possesses some form of education, be it formal or informal. Formal education involves a structured, time based educational system in a school or institution setting. Informal education entails a set of values, norms, behaviors and skills acquired through day-to-day interactions.

Setting

  • Formal education takes place in a particular environment, usually a school or other learning institution. Requirements for instructors can include a certain degree of training in the field of education, applicable teaching methods and the ability to manage a classroom. Informal education incorporates itself with the environment. It is not limited to a specific location and can occur anywhere: educational institutions, market places, at home, during leisure activities and any cultural setting. The teachers' abilities vary in terms of expertise, experience and general management techniques.

Content

  • The system in formal education predetermines the materials used in the learning process. The instructors follow a specified curriculum. This setting limits the teacher's ability to apply non-traditional content. Informal education is comparatively spontaneous and unpredictable. It focuses on the ability of conversations to induce people's reflection on how to respond in different situations. It includes a number of methods such as group work, leisure, work, mass media and other daily activities.

Time

  • Formal education takes place in a set period of time. The time required for a student to complete a certain level of education varies with the rules of the education system and the specific field being studied. Informal education is a lifelong process. The activities and the time allocated to it vary with the individual.

Purpose

  • Formal education aims towards providing the students with a specified set of skills. Credentials are awarded at the completion of each level. Formal education seeks to endow the student with the requirements needed to follow a certain professional or technical field. People also pursue formal education for personal intellectual fulfillment. The instructors of informal education endeavor to encourage students to reflect on the core values of the community through conversation. The knowledge acquired can be put in use in making proper judgments in day to day activities. Informal education has no expectation of receiving credentials.

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