Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Anthropological aspects of informally acquisition of knowledge

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.03.02  Humanities  Anthropology  Social and cultural anthropology 

Code Science Field
H000  Humanities   

Code Science Field
6.05  Humanities  Other humanities 
knowledge, anthropology, anthropology of knowledge, non-formal knowledge, formal knowledge, science, education
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (11)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  15173  PhD Alenka Janko Spreizer  Humanities  Researcher  2012  271 
2.  28938  PhD Petra Javrh  Educational studies  Researcher  2011 - 2014  329 
3.  25431  PhD Polona Kelava  Social sciences  Researcher  2011 - 2014  70 
4.  11756  PhD Janez Kolenc  Anthropology  Researcher  2011 - 2012  231 
5.  17060  PhD Taja Kramberger  Historiography  Researcher  2011 - 2014  329 
6.  05606  PhD Bogomir Novak  Anthropology  Researcher  2011 - 2012  847 
7.  20411  PhD Marko Radovan  Educational studies  Researcher  2012 - 2014  314 
8.  07029  PhD Drago B. Rotar  Culturology  Researcher  2011 - 2012  355 
9.  19022  PhD Tadej Vidmar  Historiography  Researcher  2012 - 2014  229 
10.  05737  PhD Igor Žagar Žnidaršič  Culturology  Head  2012 - 2014  949 
11.  12970  PhD Sabina Žnidaršič Žagar  Historiography  Researcher  2012 - 2014  125 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0553  Educational Research Institute  Ljubljana  5051614000  6,966 
2.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  97,048 
3.  1822  University of Primorska, Faculty of Humanities  Koper  1810014001  9,775 
In this project proposal we conceptualise the problem of the non-formal acquisition of knowledge on the basis of anthropological starting points. We base ourselves on the CEDEFOP definition of non-formal learning as "Learning which is embedded in planned activities not explicitly designated as learning (in terms of learning objectives, learning time or learning support), but which contain an important learning element. Non-formal learning is intentional from the learner's point of view." (CEDEFOP 2009)[1]. A similar definition may be found in domestic specialist literature, for example in the materials of the Vocational Education Centre (Plevnik 2006),[2] where non-formal learning is defined as an "intentional, chronologically defined and institutionalised activity that does not end with the acquisition of a recognised qualification but is structured and planned (objectives, duration, teacher). Non-formal learning is an intentional activity from the learner's point of view." The fundamental objective of the proposed project is therefore an anthropological/andragogical reflection on knowledge in general, irrespective of the paths by which it is obtained.   At the very beginning, we place the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of the high positive correlation between knowledge and linguistic competence. Further on we relativise modern, system-theory-based conceptualisations of knowledge as a positivist category that has expressed itself in modern cybernetic information systems. We highlight the theory that this is merely the artfulness of the cybernetic mind, that functionalises and instrumentalises all the factors of social processes, including the education process and the learning process, to the extent that personal motivating factors for learning and acquiring new knowledge are lost. We defend the theory of communicative activity on the basis of which it is possible to claim that knowledge is also formed in everyday life situations, be they formal or non-formal. In this we see a resource for studying the non-formal acquisition of knowledge as an anthropological phenomenon which is evident even in modern societies as that rational potential of individuals that enables them to plan a vocational career and in this way increase opportunities of employment in a turbulent labour market. Our aim is to offer an anthropological basis for the non-formal acquisition of knowledge as that process of decentring the ego that contributes to the cognitive, social and individual development of individuals so that they become more competitive in increasingly segmented labour markets.   In this light, we also wish to review the current normative aspect of this field – changing legislation and the failure to exploit the potentials of the education system, particularly in the field of evaluating non-formally acquired knowledge. [1] CEDEFOP (2009). European guidelines for validating non-formal and informal learning. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2009.   [2] Plevnik, T. (2006). Razvoj sistema za priznavanje neformalno in priložnostno pridobljenega znanja učiteljev v poklicnem izobraževanju. Ljubljana, 2006.
Significance for science
Basic research project “Anthropological Aspects of Non-formal Knowledge Acquisition, 2011 – 2014”, is a representative interdisciplinary project. Its interdisciplinary setting (approaches drawn into in it are wide and extend from pedagogical and andragogical perspectives to the historical, anthropological and linguistic approaches) as well as its dual perspective, which includes so a comparative historical dimension of the narrative on the non-formal and informal knowledge acquisition by the end of the 19th and in early 20th centuries and so a series of modern views on numerous procedures of non-formally and informally acquired skills, contribute greatly to the new comprehension of the non-formal and informal education. On the basis of results of the research project, it will be possible to define dimensions and aspects of non-formal and lifelong learning more exactly and also clearly to conceptualize their common characteristics and their differences. Step forward was made to clarify conceptual and terminological complexity in the field of (non-formal) education, which will promote establishing comparable and valid criteria and standards. Some bases for further research of new dimensions of education have also been established, as formal education remains concern of the State/society, non-formal education on the other hand is increasingly being transferred to an individual, who becomes responsible for developing (partial, segmented) »knowledge«. So, formal education has at present more possibilities to develop complete and integral knowledge, and can therefore be more democratic and emancipatory, but non-formal education has more future potential. As such, the project in its cross-perspective of disciplines and with its potentiality of ideas, cognitions and approaches functions as a trigger of novelties. With this very aspect the project offers stimulation for other possible tracks and research trajectories with its collected material (archive of discourses, questionnaires) and its various interpretations (see articles of participants). Besides this, the research work terminated in two important monographs which widen and deepen possibilities for international research exchange and communication, as well as contribute importantly to the development of social sciences and humanities.
Significance for the country
The project “Anthropological Aspects of Non-Formal Knowledge Acquisition, 2011 – 2014” was designed interdisciplinary from its beginning. In addition to other new contributions and comprehensions in relation to the non-formal and informal educative practices it is already important for the development of Slovenian – but not only Slovenian – social sciences and humanities because in this very regard – in Slovenia to a greater extent basic research projects remain tied to one or at most two disciplinary fields. Of course, variety of approaches and heterodoxy are always benefits because too much diversity in the project team can lead to the point where the entire work is blocked on a superficial level. However, we believe that in the case of our project these components were the project’s strengths; we have eventually in a short period of three years published two important monograph (an addition to many individual articles of collaborators) on the title subject. The first one is aimed at Slovene public, and the second one at the English audience (published in the UK by the Cambridge Scholars Publishing). Both enter the international European scientific research space with their fresh comprehensions and vibrant intellectual ideas. In praxis the meaning of this project was shown at least through two concrete results: A member of a project team, Sabina Ž. Žnidaršič, PhD, made a series of interviews with young professionals, graduates of The University of Ljubljana COBISS.SI-ID: 2682711, 2717527, 2767191, 2767959, 2682199, 2681943). Their purpose is to encourage student’s awareness that the years of study are the most appropriate time for laying the foundations of one’s career. The stories of the interviewees are conceived in such a manner that they point out the meaning of non–formal forms of learning being the most effective way of knowledge, competence etc. acquisition, what qualifies individuals in the labour market as special, better candidates and potential co-workers. Within the project we also organized a panel discussion: Competition or the necessary complementarity of knowledge, competence, experience and personal characteristics acquired in various pathways … for greater employability of graduates, which was held 2015 May 29th Faculty of Humanities, University of Primorska. The project itself was also presented at this gathering, its main content and findings. The participants got copies of the monograpd Neformalno učenje? Kaj pa je to? (Non–formal learning? What is it?), Kelava, P. (ed.), and the outcome of another monograph From formal to non-formal: education, learning and knowledge (Žagar Ž., I., Kelava, P., eds.), Cambridge Scholars Publishing was announced. At the panel discussion an interesting and constructive dialogue with representatives of the industry and business sector was developed.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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