WHAT IS NON FORMAL EDUCATION?

Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg didn’t finish college. Too much emphasis is placed on formal education – I told my children not to worry about their grades but to enjoy learning.   | NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB

If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.   | JIM ROHN

To educate is not to fill up a vase but to light a fire.   | YOUTHPASS LEARNING CARDS

Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.   ARISTOTLE

WHY ARE WE DOING IT?

When people ask us why are we passionate about non-formal education, we answer: because it has a great potential in connecting people.

WHAT TYPES OF EDUCATION DO WE KNOW?

After many years spent in the formal educational system we usually build a certain set of beliefs connected with learning. Some of those are connected with pleasant feelings, others with unpleasant. What is important is to be aware of the fact, that the educational system has a big influence on our perception of learning. The second important thing is the finding that we can learn things also out of the school. We are learning when observing parents, talking with friends, surfing on the internet… As well as we can visit different courses, programs, exchanges or other events. In general we are talking about three different types of education/learning: formal education, non-formal education and in-formal learning. Talking about education and learning, we understand the first one as a system and second one as a process.

CHARACTERISTICS OF NON FORMAL EDUCATION

  • Learning objectives are known in advance.
  • The learning objectives are based on the needs of the target group.
  • It is often done in non-conventional environment (nature, hostels, youth centres…).
  • It is often based on the experiential learning.
  • It uses diverse methodology.
  • It uses a group of learners as a source of information.
  • It understand the learning process as two-dimensional.
  • The relations in the learning process tend to be non-hierarchical.
  • It aims to empower participants.
  • It is delivering knowledge and skills but also questioning attitude, values, beliefs.

WHAT ABOUT REAL LIFE EXPERIENCES?

Of course, these are just plain characteristics and there are stories created on those characteristics, which make an impact and often change lives. We would like to share one…

Once upon a time an international group of young people gathered in Slovenia with the aim to learn together. In 8 days they participated in and organized different workshops, met the locals, hiked in the mountains, sang along the campfire, swam in the lake, exchanged opinions about different topics, slept in the tents, ate and lived together. One of their tasks was also to create a real online fundraising campaign to buy a camera. Their massage was:

“We are T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More), a small group consisting of 42 young people coming from 7 different countries. Through communication and adventure, our project is aiming to connect different cultures in a time when the world stands divided with violence, hatred, and ethical disagreement”.

“What we do is simple: we come as strangers, we leave as a family”.

“We all believe that the memories of our interactions should never be lost”.

“Have you ever woken up from a breath taking dream, without being able to remember the most important details”?

“Help us keep our dream alive”.

Did they succeed? Check it out.

WHY ARE WE DOING IT?

It is the belief that learning can also be fun, the belief that everybody has an endless potential, the belief that we can and we need to take better care of ourselves and others, which are powering our actions and non-formal education just offers a perfect setting for that!

More about non-formal education.

| ALJAŽ ZUPAN