The school is usually assigned the greatest formative burden. However, it should not be the only scale of knowledge to address the needs of contemporary society. Based on that, non-formal education is developed outside the traditional school context.

Non-formal education is key to foster attitudes, skills and valuable tools for the different stages of life, childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Considering the influence it has on people’s lives, this article delves even deeper into these processes. If, in addition to this information, specialization in the field is sought, it is recommended to study Social Education, the area that fosters the development of people within this sector.


What is non-formal education?

Non-formal education groups together those activities that take place outside the school or academic field. They can be understood as complementary activities to promote other facets of people.

This implies that these activities are considered as non-regulated and can be considered outside the educational system. Their purpose can be physical, recreational or moral. Although they are not activities that take place within the traditional school system, they can be considered pedagogical.

They are those rules and actions that are learned to motivate a better development of the person in different areas.


What is the importance of non-formal education?

Non-formal education complements formal education; even, depending on the activity, both can be interrelated although they are developed in different spaces.

Non-formal education takes place at home, in sports spaces, study workshops or even in the street, depending on the activity. Through this relationship, the development of a comprehensive education is fostered.

An example of the last case is when the person understands that the order of the line must be respected when standing on the train platform.


Homeschooling: learning at home

Homeschooling is the term used to refer to education at home. This stage is key because children acquire the knowledge and values that will help them to progressively develop in society, such as respect, autonomy, responsibility and curiosity.

According to specialists, home education has the following benefits:

  • It personalizes education based on the child’s needs.
  • It generates greater autonomy in the person.
  • The child has independence during his or her own development, fostering values such as freedom and responsibility.
  • It encourages the development of other virtues and interests.
  • Motivation is the axis of the activities.


What are the differences between formal and informal education?

Formal education is that structured by the State or public entities within a traditional, institutional system. On the other hand, non-formal education is that which takes place in non-institutional and diverse environments. Although it is organized and has a structure, a program, it is not considered formal and is probably not regulated by the Government of Spain nor conceptualized in a staggered way, childhood, primary, secondary, etc.


What is non-formal education based on?

The principles of non-formal education are the following:

  • It does not seek a specific certification. It does not consist of achieving a specific title or mention.
  • It is not limited by age or social status.
  • It is not reduced to academic fields. An example of this is sports education.
  • It is based on different teaching methods. Resources such as books or other materials are not always necessary.
  • The purpose does not have to be educational, in the strictest sense of the word. It can be recreational or another kind of knowledge that contributes to the formation of the person.
  • Previous knowledge is not required.
  • They can be activities that complement formal education and, depending on the type and level, even replace it.
  • They are voluntary.



Among the benefits of non-formal education are the following:

  • Its voluntary, non-compulsory nature.
  • It adjusts to people’s interests.
  • Being voluntary, it is associated with enjoyment.
  • It fosters the development of personal, social and professional skills.
  • It is usually developed on the basis of flexible schedules and various practice options.
  • It is the education of the future. Complementary knowledge, tools that offer diverse resources to people will be more and more necessary.
  • They have a formative character, facilitating the professional development of the person.

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