Technology, Knowledge and Learning

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 391–407 | Cite as

Integrating Academic and Everyday Learning Through Technology: Issues and Challenges for Researchers, Policy Makers and Practitioners

  • Cathy LewinEmail author
  • Kwok-Wing Lai
  • Hans van Bergen
  • Amina Charania
  • Jean Gabin Ntebutse
  • Barry Quinn
  • Roger Sherman
  • David Smith
Integrative review


This paper builds on work undertaken over a number of years by a group of international researchers with an interest in the potential of connecting academic and everyday practices and knowledge. Drawing extensively on literature and our own work, we first discuss the challenges around defining informal learning, concluding that learning is multidimensional and has varying combinations of formal and informal attributes. We then highlight the potential of technology for integrating formal and informal learning attributes and briefly provide some exemplars of good practice. We then discuss in depth the challenges and issues of this approach to supporting learning from the perspective of pedagogy, research, policy and technology. We also provide some recommendations of how these issues may be addressed. We argue that for the learner, integration of formal and informal learning attributes should be an empowering process, enabling the learner to be self-directed, creative and innovative, taking learning to a deeper level. Given the complexity of the learning ecosystem, this demands support from the teacher but also awareness and understanding from others such as parents, family, friends and community members. We present a conceptual model of such an ecosystem to help develop further discussions within and between communities of researchers, policy makers and practitioners.


Everyday learning Informal learning Academic learning Formal learning School Technology Pedagogy 



The contributions of ideas to this paper from other TWG 2 members, Hiroaki Ogata and Ferial Khaddage, are gratefully acknowledged. We are also grateful to the two anonymous reviewers who provided us with some helpful feedback on the original draft of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationManchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK
  2. 2.College of EducationUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  3. 3.Utrecht University of Applied SciencesUtrechtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Tata Trusts & Tata Institute of Social SciencesMumbaiIndia
  5. 5.Faculty of EducationUniversity of SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada
  6. 6.King’s College London Dental Institute, Tower WingGuy’s HospitalLondonUK
  7. 7.Simmons College School of Social WorkOffice of AdmissionBostonUSA
  8. 8.Kaplan UniversityDavenportUSA

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