A characteristic of informal learning is that a person has an unsolved issue and starts searching for answers. To what extent can we transfer such a ’motivation to learn’ into formal education? In 2002, an online, open, free forum at a university has been launched for around 2,000 students at a study program (CS). Users got the opportunity to co-construct new knowledge about issues what they want (e.g., course content, how to study successfully). Designed in that way, the online forum provides an informal learning space. Studying it from a sociological theory of social roles, one conclusion is that the iForum activates the conative level of learning. The term conation by K. Kolbe in 1990 refers to a concrete action; the learner does not only know, s/he really acts, s/he is willing to do sth. This rubric of learning is neglected in designs for formal schooling where cognitive learning ‘textbook knowledge’ is more focused.
KeywordsConative learning Online Forum Role theory
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