It’s all around
For their learning needs, learners are interacting with peers, exploring their company’s intranet, tapping communities of practice, conducting online searches, going through the company’s Wiki or engaging with SMEs. Informal learning is happening all over the place!
Learners are constantly charting their own learning paths because they know what they want to achieve. Self-direction is one of the basic principles of andragogy – and guarantees remarkable results.
Informal doesn’t mean imply a lack of seriousness. On the contrary, because your employees are trying to bridge their own performance gap, their motivation is intrinsic and they are not just fooling around. Their commitment is likely to be higher than if they were forced to enroll in traditional training programs that have little bearing on their everyday jobs.
Employees who want to do their jobs better invariably pick up tips and tricks from the ones doing it well. A conversation around the water cooler or a chat over lunch could be the best channel for bite-sized learning nuggets.
It costs nothing
Your organization needn’t have a budget for informal learning. Your employees are already going about it, using and tapping every available channel. Research estimates that between 75-80% of learning is through informal channels. And, most of the sales persons are adopting informal learning for their sales training needs.
It demonstrates results
It is highly result-oriented. Your employees have their learning goals firmly in mind, even if they are not following terminology used by Robert Magers and Bloom’s taxonomy to frame learning objectives.
Now here’s the challenge for learning practitioners. How do you blend informal learning with the more structured formal learning approach? Thoughts anyone?