In medical education learning extends beyond university settings into practice. Non-formal and informal learning support learners’ efforts to meet externally set and learner-identified objectives. In SBME research, boundaries between formal, non-formal, and informal learning have not been widely explored. Whether SBME fits within or challenges these categories can make a contribution.
Formal learning is described in relation to educational settings, planning, assessment, and accreditation. Informal learning results from workplace-, home- and community-based activities (Werquin, 2012), often lacks assessment, and can include incidental learning as an unanticipated consequence (Marsick & Watkins, 1990). Non-formal learning is structured in terms of learning objectives, time, and support (Colley et al., 2002), but focused on formative assessment within practical experience.