Informal learning is driven by learner’s motivation and an intrinsic passion to learn. It is spontaneous and can happen whenever the learners see something of value that can help them perform better.
As a logical extension, the success of informal learning rests significantly on the learner (someone who is focused, motivated and is on a look-out for knowledge resources or individuals who will help him do better). However, organisations can certainly help this process and encourage informal learning at workplace.
In this blog, I outline the key benefits that informal learning offers to the learners as well as business.
Does Informal learning truly help learners or business?
The question mark on the impact of that formal learning can create vs what informal learning experiences can deliver is a valid one.
As I see it, the answer is not in one approach instead of the other but to create a Learning Ecosystem that fosters learning as a continuum and offers learners multiple avenues to learn from. An effective blend of formal and informal learning experience options will provide an environment that will help both learners and business obtain the required gain.
What are the benefits that Informal learning offer to the learners?
Here are the key benefits Informal learning experiences bring in for the learners:
- It is more fun as it is triggered by learner’s own interest (unlike formal learning that is typically pushed by L&D team).
- It can happen at the learner’s pace and has a higher likelihood of timely completion as it is fuelled by learner’s interest and motivation.
- Informal learning experiences are more rewarding as it empowers the learner to decide how to go through (the content, the depth, when it should be picked up and completed, and so on).
- It is impromptu and spontaneous and does not need the rigour of a learning plan. In fact, since the control of this learning journey is with the learner, the scope continues to expand (from basic to more advanced) without any external push.
- When there is no pressure of Quizzes, Tests or Summative Assessments, the learners usually find it easier to sustain the momentum.
- Without the pressure to deliver a structured training programme, even the peers or mentors find that impromptu sessions are easier to conduct. On a related note, the internalisation of learning is equally effective (as informal learning).
Can organisations also benefit from informal learning or is it too amorphous to create an impact?
The gains for the organisations are also significant. Having an environment that supports and encourages informal learning will enable them to see the following two benefits:
- Foster a spirit of collaboration among employees where the focus is on continuous improvement, higher efficiency and marked performance gain.
- Create a Learning Ecosystem that promotes and nurtures different avenues to learn and grow.
I hope this blog provides you with insights on the key benefits that informal learning offers for learners as well as organisations.
Want more insights on how you can promote informal learning in your organisation? Schedule a call with our Solutions Architecting Team today.
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