The steering committee of the Initiative for Applied Education Research, in response to an external request, formed a team of experts to lead a study on informal education in Israel. The goals of this study include:
1) Familiarization with the theoretical material in this field;
2) Initial familiarization with the practical activity in Israel and its practitioners;
3) Understanding the methods of activity (in Israel and abroad) that researchers have identified as
effective in advancing social, learning or other objectives.
Prof. Shlomo Romi of Bar-Ilan University is heading the team of experts.
The concept of “informal education” is a gateway to a broad world of goals, organizations, methods, target audiences and players. Researchers define this broad and rich field in different ways; these definitions range from any type of learning that occurs in life to specific educational activity designed for a particular audience and characterized by defined goals and objectives (for example, participation in a youth movement or learning computer skills as a retiree). In light of the wealth of different objectives and needs of diverse target audiences, this is also an arena with many players and no central control. Key players in the field of informal education include government ministries, local governments, foundations and non-government organizations operating in the third sector, the business sector and the private sector.
A tradition of informal education has existed in Israel since the pre-state period. Over the years, informal education has become more diverse – in goals and in methods – in parallel to changes in society, leisure culture, needs and lifestyles.
The study by the team of experts will be conducted over the course of a year and will aim to map at least part of the extensive activity taking place in the field and to create a conceptual and empirical foundation. The learning process will be based on a number of workshops with leading figures from academia and expert practitioners in the field, as well as reviews of scientific literature. A report on the activity will be written at the conclusion of the meetings and made available to the general public.