JAID Special Call for 'Informal Learning in Online Social Communities'

Journal of Applied Instructional Design
Special Issue Call for Proposals

Informal Learning in Online Social Communities


Special Issue Editor: Enilda Romero-Hall, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Education, IDT Graduate Coordinator, University of Tampa, eromerohall@ut.edu 

In education and training settings, we often discuss the term informal learning to address learning experiences that do not follow a specific curriculum and are not restricted to a specific environment (Richter, Kunter, Klusmann, Lu?dtke, and Baumert, 2011). Other definitions of informal learning refer to education that is never organized, has no set objectives, and is not intentionally undertaken as a learning activity (Werquin, 2007). It is very possible that learners can shift seamlessly between formal and informal learning (Moore, 2016). 

Additionally, Moore (2016) states that during informal learning, the learners may or may not realize that they are acquiring new information. Eraut (2004) refers to this type of informal learning as implicit learning. Eurat (2004) also distinguishes two other types of informal learning: reactive and deliberate learning. Reactive learning refers to a situation in which the individual is aware that informal learning is occurring; however, it happens spontaneously in a specific context. Deliberate learning refers to informal learning that occurs when an individual takes time to think about how and where to gather information.

Today online social communities in social networking sites, listservs, messaging apps, online discussion forums, workplace networks, and others facilitate creating and sharing information. It has been argued that, through these multi-user connections and support systems, individuals engaged can, in turn, have access to content and participation in informal learning experiences (Rehm & Notten, 2016).

Potential Topics
This special issue of JAID seeks contributions from K-12, higher education, business, and workplace contexts that focus on how the instructional design of informal learning in online social communities is shaping learning experiences. Potential topics to address include but are not limited to:

  • Benefits and drawbacks of informal learning

  • Informal learning and identify formation

  • Bridging between formal and informal learning 

  • Bridging between different types of informal learning 

  • Lurking as a mechanism for informal learning 

  • Informal learning in the workplace online social communities

  • Social justice movements and informal learning 

  • Informal learning in online social communities across cultures

  • Examples of informal learning in online social communities in different settings

JAID Article Types
In line with JAID standards, submitted articles must fall under one of the following three types:

  • Instructional Design Practice: This is an applied journal serving a practicing community. Our focus is on what practitioners are doing in authentic contexts and their observed results. These articles cover topics of broad concern to instructional design practitioners. The articles should represent issues of practical importance to working designers.

  • Research Studies on Applied Instructional Design: JAID is interested in publishing empirical studies exploring the application of instructional design principles in applied settings. Quantitative and qualitative studies are welcome.

  • Instructional Design/Performance Design Position Papers: JAID also accepts position papers that attempt to bridge theory and practice. Examples may include conceptual frameworks and new ideas facing the instructional design community. The paper must also provide enough information to allow the replication of the innovation or continuation of the research in other settings. Position papers must be based in the context of a theoretical framework. Efficacy data is strongly preferred, but not always required, contingent upon the potential generalizability or value of the innovation.

Timeline for Special Issue


November 9, 2020


Call for Proposals for the Special Issue on “Informal Learning in Online Social Communities” is open.

December 11, 2020

Outline of 500 words of the proposed manuscript due by 10 pm (EST): https://tinyurl.com/JAIDInformalLearningCFP 

January 11, 2021

Invitation to submit a full manuscript sent to authors. Important: An invitation to submit a complete manuscript does not guarantee the manuscript will be published; all manuscripts must still undergo a full peer-review process.

March 26, 2021

Full manuscripts due.

May 14, 2021

Reviews completed and author(s) notified of the decision.

June 14, 2021

Revised manuscripts due.

July 14, 2021

Feedback due to the author on the revised manuscript.

August 14, 2021

Final manuscripts are due.

August 2021

Publication in Special Issue


Proposal Submission Information

Please upload a PDF file with your name, institution, and email address as well as a brief overview (approx. 500 words) of the proposed article using the following link: https://tinyurl.com/JAIDInformalLearningCFP for initial review. If accepted for full manuscript review, you will be contacted by the special issue editor and directed to the JAID  portal for where you will submit your full manuscript per the schedule provided

We kindly ask authors to also serve as reviewers for the submissions. Thank you

Full Manuscript Submission Information

Full manuscript submissions must be prepared according to the JAID guidelines: https://www.jaid.pub/call. The Journal of Applied Instructional Design (JAID) is a peer-reviewed journal sponsored by the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT).



Eraut, M. (2004). Informal learning in the workplace. Studies in Continuing Education, 26(2), 247–273. doi:10.1080/158037042000225245

Moore, A. (2016). The business of informal learning: A survey of instructional design and performance improvement practitioners.  Doctoral dissertation. Retrieved from DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository: http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_FA2016_Moore_fsu_0071E_13493

Rehm, M., & Notten, A. (2016). Twitter as an informal learning space for teachers!? The role of social capital in Twitter conversations among teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 60, 215-223. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2016.08.015

Richter, D., Kunter, M., Klusmann, U., Lüdtke, O., & Baumert, J. (2011). Professional development across the teaching career: Teachers’ uptake of formal and informal learning opportunities. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(1), 116-126.

Werquin, P. (2007). Moving Mountains: will qualifications systems promote lifelong learning? European Journal of Education, 42(4), 459-484. doi:10.1111/j.1465-3435.2007.00327.x


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