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Informal & Experiential Learning Certificate

What is Informal Learning?

Informal learning is all about deciding what, where and how we want to learn over the course of our lifetimes. It's the learning that takes place all the time, outside of the classroom, no matter how young or old you are.

Informal & Experiential Learning Certificate is an innovative program that immerses museum, zoo, aquarium and science outreach professionals and volunteers in informal and free-choice learning theories.

You will work with some of the field’s leading researchers in museum studies programs and you will learn how to apply informal learning environments theories in real-world educational settings.

What You'll Cover in this Series

  • Personal, socio-cultural and physical dimensions of free-choice learning and informal learning theory.
  • Learn from Oregon State University scholars leading the field of free-choice learning research.
  • Valuable professional development by enrolling in the full professional certificate program or a single course.

Learning Outside the Classroom

You can earn the Informal & Experiential Learning Certificate by completing each required course as well as one elective course:

Core Informal Learning Courses:

Elective Courses:

Informal & Experiential Learning Certificate Info Session


For more information on this certificate program, please watch the following recorded information session.

Proud Partners

This course is a collaboration between Oregon State University College of Education and Oregon State University Professional and Continuing Education.

Oregon State University Informal & Experiential Learning Certificate is proud to partner with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) specializing in Education & Interpretation.

Multiple dates
Each course takes seven weeks to complete
price (2)
Full Certificate: $1,515
(+ $60 registration fee, per course) ($390 saving)
Individual Courses: $390 - $425
(+ $60 registration fee, per course)


Designing Learning Environments: Physical Dimensions of Free-Choice / Informal Learning

Mar. 15 - May 2, 2021

Developing STEM / STEAM Curriculum Online Course

May 10 - Jun. 27, 2021

Examining the Learner's Own Ideas: Personal Dimensions of Free-Choice / Informal Learning

New dates coming soon!

Understanding Cultural Influence: Sociocultural Dimensions of Free-Choice / Informal Learning

May 10 - Jun. 20, 2021

Strategies for Communicating STEM ideas in Public Spaces

May 10 - Jun. 27, 2021


Erin Hicks, M.A.

Erin is a museum professional with over 10 years of experience working on the design and development of art and history museum exhibits. Erin expanded that experience to include museum education theory and practice as she earned a masters degree in museum studies, specifically following a learning track of visitor experience and education.

John H. Falk, Ph.D.

Sea Grant Professor, Museum and Free-Choice Learning / Information Education Course Advisor

Lynn Dierking, Ph.D.

Sea Grant Professor, Museum and Free-Choice Learning / Information Education Course Advisor

Past Students' Work

Take a look at some recent projects our students have created.