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USING GROUP BLOGS TO ENCOURAGE INFORMAL LEARNING IN HIGHER EDUCATION

V. Abella, R. Casado-Muñoz, F. Lezcano, J.L. Cuesta

University of Burgos (SPAIN)
Teaching and education at the university level in Spain has been closely linked to formal learning. In formal learning the contents are clearly defined in a program at the beginning of the course, are highly structured and are usually transmitted unidirectional, thus enhancing individual learning. Both relationships teacher – student and student – student are shut off from outside influence. In this sense, an increasing number of researchers indicate that most of our learning and most of the transfer of knowledge is done through informal activities. On the other hand, cooperative learning has become very important.

To support the informal activities and the cooperative learning, from the subject of New Technologies Applied to Education (Early Childhood Education Degree and Primary Education Degree), we proposed in the 2009-2010 academic year to create group blogs whose entries should get away from the formal learning. We suggested to students the use as a theme for their blog the same theme as they chose for a class work about one disability on the subject Pedagogical Bases of Special Education. These activities would meet the targets set within the formal education (working on a disability and blog creation) in both subjects mentioned above and we encourage informal learning, collaborative learning and self-directed learning. The involvement by the students has been high and they were satisfied with the work done, especially because many of their blogs received external comments of encouragement and recognition of their work.