FLINN: A framework to characterize technology enhanced formal, non-formal and informal learning situations Articles uri icon

publication date

  • April 2014

start page

  • 38

end page

  • 51


  • 2


  • 5

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1947-3478

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1947-3486


  • Thanks to technology, people learn continuously, anytime and anywhere, and in multiple situations that combine formal, non-formal and informal learning. However, recognizing the type of learning taking place in such technology-enhanced learning (TEL) situations is a big challenge, since the boundaries between these three kinds of learning are blurred. In this paper we present FLINN (FormaL INformal and Non-formal), a framework that defines formal, non-formal and informal learning situations as a continuum of two factors: (a) how learning is achieved; and (b) the setting where the learning situation takes place. This framework helps systematically characterize TEL situations, and as a consequence understand the kind of learning taking place, and recognize the learning opportunities that may arise in these situations. To illustrate the FLINN framework the authors describe three different scenarios, all employing interactive tags combined with other technologies for supporting collaboration in different settings, and embracing a diversity of learning objectives.


  • Telecommunications


  • formal learning; framework; informal learning; mobile technologies; non-formal learning