Study of Developing a Framework for Understanding Relationships Between Formal (Schools) and Informal (Communities) Learning Environments

Project Number
OER 23/10 DH

Project Duration
April 2011 - August 2014


The proposal is about relationships between formal and informal institutional settings to increase learners' motivation. Motivation is seen here as a construct relating to authentic learning opportunities. Literature has also been recently focused on informal learning contexts. In Singapore, these relationships are important as they are seen as a resource for schools to be adaptive. For example, the benefits were realized in recent success of the Singapore Sports School that produced Olympic quality athletes who are also academically inclined. Unfortunately, there are also relationships that are less successful, particularly between generic schools and their partners. There is a lack of understanding about the relationships, both successful and unsuccessful ones. As such, it is difficult for schools to emulate successful relationships in motivating learners or learning from unsuccessful ones and avoiding future mistakes. Often, the relationships established are haphazard, based on short-term business like agreements. Typically, the relationships do not leverage community strengths in motivating learners but merely duplicates schools activities. These forms of relationships may address short-term motivational issues (e.g. higher grade) but not for the long term gain (e.g. adaptive across contexts). For relationships to leverage on community strengths, we believe a structured framework for understanding the relationships is necessary. Therefore, a framework for understanding relationships between formal (i.e. schools) and informal (i.e. communities) will be developed. The relationships are concerned with learners' motivations that focus on increasing performance in schools. The performance include abilities in distributed problem-solving, leveraging on social networks and enhancing collective efforts. The framework will identify antecedents of successful relationships and factors that impaired them. It will provide a systematic approach for exploring relationships in formal and informal settings and provide a sound basis for further empirical research. The framework will offer schools a set of guidelines in formulating relationships based on lesson learnt. It will have suggestions on factors that influence learners' motivation as a result of the relationships. This proposal explores how schools can exploit informal relationships such as para-groups and councils, in extending opportunities for learning and experience that motivates students in their endeavours.In contributes to motivation literature by extending this understanding from sociocultural lens.

Research Themes
Seamless Learning

Funding Source

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