Q. Part of the Virtual Choir experience seems, as you describe it, very structured — in what ways do you see the project as being an example of informal learning?
As with many informal learning experiences, some structure is necessary and is a good thing. Perhaps the single most important aspect of choral singing is following the cues of an instructor. In this case, having a recorded instructor track with an accompaniment helped to keep singers together and singing in the same key. There were also good guidelines of how to record and upload the video. Maintaining correct file formats for the videos and a logical submission process is critical when dealing with thousands of people from around the world.
The informal learning that was unstructured occurs first as this is outside of an educational curriculum, as defined by Livingstone. Also the methods of learning the music were very unstructured. You could use the guide tracks that were provided, but based on my study, many people learned the songs by watching other postings and following along. Some printed the music and practiced at a piano. The setting is also informal and unstructured, which would put this down in the bottom of Sefton-Green’s quadrant. One participant from the most recent project is a deaf & mute singer that participated in the project by submitting a video of herself signing along with the music. Even though she didn’t fit the original mold, she created her own learning and changed the structure. Her contribution touched many people that participated in the project.
So while there was some initial structure to the project, both the setting and the curriculum would be considered informal.