The slow death of formal learning: a polemic

D. McGuire, C. Gubbins

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    28 Citations (Scopus)


    Over recent years, approaches to education and training have become more informal, situated, outcome focused and experiential. Within this context, formal learning now plays a greatly diminished role, being supplanted by activity-based and technologically-based learning. This article, structured in the form of a polemic challenges readers to critically examine the importance and value of formal learning in modern learning environments. It reviews four propositions charting changes to the learning environment arguing that formal learning plays a central role in deepening an individual’s functional and general knowledge. It questions the branding of formal learning as an outdated delivery mode associated with an old-fashioned antiquated pedagogy and argues that decisions on learning styles should be based upon sound evidence-based research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)249-265
    Number of pages17
    JournalHuman Resource Development Review
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2010


    • formal learning, experiential learning, technology, informal learning,


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