Specification[ edit ] Formal methods may be used to give a description of the system to be developed, at whatever level s of detail desired. This formal description can be used to guide further development activities see following sections ; additionally, it can be used to verify that the requirements for the system being developed have been completely and accurately specified. The need for formal specification systems has been noted for years. Development[ edit ] Once a formal specification has been produced, the specification may be used as a guide while the concrete system is developed during the design process i.
Learning mediated through agents of authority Learning mediated through learner democracy Fixed and limited time-frame Learning is the main explicit purpose Learning is either of secondary significance or is implicit Learning is applicable in a range of contexts Learning is context-specific There are some obvious but daunting problems, if such an approach was intended to produce an accurate means of classifying actual learning activities and situations as either formal or informal.
This was aptly illustrated when an earlier version of the figure was presented to the Steering Group for this project. If we were to establish these ideal-types as universal, all such disagreements would have to be ironed out.
In doing that, we would have to address the formal business report styles problems: Should all criteria be equally important, as this approach would imply?
How can criteria be labelled in ways that avoid ideological implications of inherent virtue or blame? Each of these problems would have to be solved, if such an approach were to be seriously pursued, and many of them would lead inevitably into areas of complex and partly subjective value-judgements.
But there is another, more serious problem. Even if only a majority of these criteria were rigorously applied, very little learning would fit completely into either ideal type. One way of addressing this problem is to search for ways to group the criteria in the list, and to identify deeper underlying organising concepts.
Most, though still not all, of the criteria in figure 6 can be fitted into the following four clusters: This includes learner activity, pedagogical styles and issues of assessment: Is the location of the learning within a setting that is primarily education, community or workplace?
Does the learning take place in the context of: Is the learning secondary to other prime purposes, or the main purpose of itself?
This covers issues about the nature of what is being learned.
Is the focus on propositional knowledge or situated practice? Is the focus on high status knowledge or not? However, the best way to do this may not be through the categorisation of actual learning as of one or other type. This is partly because the four dimensions can be logically combined into 16 different types, and there is no clear way to identify a smaller number of these logically possible permutations.
Such types may have value for analytical and illuminative purposes. However, what even 16 ideal types cannot provide is a clear categorisation or [page 20] classification of actual learning activities or situations: Yet, as we have seen, in the literature that attempts to define boundaries between formal, non-formal and informal learning, and it is this latter purpose that is most frequently intended.
Following the implications of the continuum model of Stern and Sommerladrather than seeing formal, informal and non-formal learning as discrete entities, we have begun exploring the ways in which these four dimensions of formality and informality inter-penetrate most, if not all, learning situations.
This analysis changed the direction of our research. Our work on these four dimensions of formality and the relationships between them is ongoing.
In what follows, we present a range of different exemplar contexts: The detail of these exemplars and the style in which they are written vary considerably.
Some are predominantly literature based, others draw upon empirical investigations, conducted by some of us.
We believe that these contrasting approaches are valuable in making more transparent the issues upon which we are focussing. Also they open up a wider range of possible reader reactions, all of which are of potential interest and value for us.
FE as a sector contains a very wide range of provision. Here we concentrate on that which broadly fit the formal definitions in almost all the classifications we have provided. Even in such formal courses, strong dimensions of informality are present and can be clearly identified.
One way of understanding what happens in such educational settings, is to examine case studies.
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While the TLC project covers a wide range of FE provision, we have deliberately chosen to focus here on more mainstream sites, in order to explore the limitations of seeing them as purely formal. Most of the criteria for formal learning are clearly visible in this site. The course takes place partly on educational premises, there is an external syllabus and summative course work assessment and an examination focussed on a qualification.
The tutor is charismatic and forceful, and dominates the teaching and learning.
Student choice is largely restricted to joining or not joining. Thus, students work to complete assignments and undertake various activities, at the direction of the tutor. The course is planned, structured, and geared to the demands of external bodies: But the course also has clear informal dimensions.In computer science, specifically software engineering and hardware engineering, formal methods are a particular kind of mathematically based technique for the specification, development and verification of software and hardware systems.
The use of formal methods for software and hardware design is motivated by the expectation that, as in other engineering disciplines, performing appropriate.
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