In our early years, informal learning is the significant way we learn. In fact, we continue to learn through this approach even at the workplace. In spite of this, many people are skeptical about the impact of informal learning at the workplace. However, I believe that it should be part of the overall learning strategy as learners respond positively to it and organizations can easily provide support to promote it.
In this blog, I begin with the definition of formal and informal learning and outline the key differences between them. Then, I share the benefits you will see as you promote it. I wrap up with 5 informal learning examples that you can use.
Formal learning is gained through structured or formal training. Typically, managed by L&D teams, it is based on the Training Needs Analysis (TNA). As a logical extension, it has definite learning outcomes. It will typically have assessments to check how learners fared against the desired gain.
Formal trainings are delivered through structured formats that may include one or all of the following:
Most of the times, this training is managed by L&D teams and would have a roll-out and completion schedule.
Informal learning on the other hand is the impromptu or spontaneous learning. It is triggered, driven, and sustained by the learner’s intrinsic motivation and passion to learn. It can have varied elements that can include learning from others, practice, reflection, or evaluation of new aspects of interest.
Learning at the workplace happens all the time. Even without realizing we are watching and learning during meetings, discussions, or over a coffee.
You would possibly relate to some of the situations:
Organizations can further facilitate informal learning in many ways, including using the following 5 informal learning examples that I am about to share. These informal learning examples reflect the semi-structured support for informal learning that will go a long way in promoting a better learning culture.
I hope this blog provides some ideas on how you can promote informal learning at the workplace. As you will note from these informal learning examples, this can be easily facilitated by organizations and will help you create a continuous learning environment.
If you have any queries or need any specific support, do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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