Education is one of the key ingredients for societal development. Without education, society will not be able to sustain its growing human resource. Education helps people to become well-informed citizens. It imparts to them the ability to participate effectively in the economic, political, social, cultural, religious, and legal realms. Education also provides individuals with a sense of their own identity and helps them to achieve their potential.
Education is the process by which enabling learning, the acquisition of educational skills, knowledge, values, beliefs, attitudes, morals, and habits takes place. Education takes place through formal education, which usually involves schooling; through informal education, which may take place at home, at work, in community organizations, in the classroom, in vocational or continuing vocational training, in sports and recreational activities, in workshops, etc. Education also takes place at school, in hospitals, in mental health centers, and in other institutions. Formal education usually occurs before a person reaches the age of majority, whereas informal education usually takes place while the person is still young.
Education is based upon the assumption that knowledge is power. Hence, formal education system develops knowledge by subjecting it to critical analysis and evaluation. Knowledge acquired in the classroom is usually applied directly in the workforce. On the other hand, informal learning process occurs through non-formal methods such as playing games, participating in discussions, visiting libraries and books stores, reading literary and art works, and so on. Since learning is the basis of formal education, all forms of learning experience to produce learners with a set of skills, knowledge and values that they are required to use in a particular setting – in a classroom, in a work place, at home, in a community organization, in the classroom or at school.
The most significant change observed in the informal education system is the growth of social media. Today, many schools are offering online educational courses in addition to the traditional classroom ones. This has had a major impact on the learning process. Social media helps learners to gather and share ideas and experiences from the internet with their peers. This has made the classroom learning process more interactive, socially aware, and cooperative.
Another important feature observed in the informal education is the non-formal education system’s attitude towards technology. People are now more involved in using the internet not just for leisure, but for professional and business purposes. Hence, many schools now encourage people to use technology during the course of their studies. This attitude has greatly contributed to the growing popularity of nonformal education.
Nonformal education system differs from formal education in the sense that it does not provide rigid sets of criteria for evaluating candidates. In other words, both types of education have different points of views and opinions regarding what it takes to become successful in one’s chosen profession. It also involves an evaluation system where, besides knowledge and skills, candidate needs to have certain qualities and attitude that are required by employers. The difference lies primarily on the mode of delivery. Formal education systems typically take place inside a classroom while informal learning systems usually take place outside the classroom.
However, this technological advancement has also created a new set of educational problems. The digital age introduced various forms of distance education – online courses, blended courses and virtual learning environments – which pose certain challenges to the teaching faculty. For traditional schools, the main problem in teaching students from remote locations is that they do not have easy access to the school library or the Internet. The lack of Internet connectivity causes students to rely solely on books and multimedia sources inside the school library which is not efficient and effective in presenting lessons.
Fortunately, a lot of school education institutions are already operating fully using the modern tools such as Internet and IT technology. They are making good use of the various information technologies, such as web, email, chat and text applications that are now available in order to promote higher education. However, there are still some aspects of distance education that require special equipment and software in order to function properly. For instance, many schools are already operating digital interactive Whiteboards, interactive PowerPoint presentations or video conferencing systems. Such technological innovations allow teachers to get more out of their lessons.