In this paper we present background and early results from an investigation of how computing students learn computer science topics through informal means, that is, outside of organized classes. We provide some overall perspective by discussing the variety of research areas that fall under the general 'informal learning' name. From there we propose specific research questions that concern what the students learn, what resources they bring to bear, what strategies they employ, and how they evaluate their progress. Preliminary results indicate that students primarily learn specific technologies, and that both their motivation and evaluation are closely tied to projects (at school, work, or home).
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|Published - 15 Jul 2011