Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 51

WHAT'S NEXT IN TECH
STELLA LEE, PH.D.

MAKING THE CASE FOR
INFORMAL LEARNING
AT WORK

Just about everything we do with technology
has an informal learning component:
downloading an app requires you to learn
how to use it, interacting with a chatbot
necessitates you to find out what questions
are within the scope of the bot's domain
knowledge and accessing a website for the
first time necessitates a quick orientation of
where to go to accomplish your tasks.
If informal learning is so omnipresent in
our daily lives, why is it that organizations
are struggling to apply informal learning
at work? The challenges are manifold.
While informal learning allows learners
the freedom to make organic discoveries,
it provides less structure and is difficult to
implement and optimize. Furthermore,
there is a lack of knowledge and research
in this area, particularly in measuring the
impact of informal learning.
To address these challenges, here are
four areas to consider when integrating
informal learning into your corporate
learning ecosystem:
FIND A GOOD BLEND
While informal learning is powerful and
engages learners in their natural settings,
formal learning has its applications. Formal
learning is ideal for establishing a baseline
of knowledge and skills, as well as enabling
the delivery of compliance-based or
standardized content that organizations
have control over. Informal learning
supplements and extends learning beyond
the classroom by observing, exploring,
asking questions, interacting with peers
and experimenting. Finding a good blend

between informal and formal learning is the
ticket to creating a holistic learning culture.
LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGY
To create and support a culture of
continuous exploration, leverage a range of
technologies that are already in place within
your organization. Knowledge repository
platforms, internal communication channels,
enterprise social media tools, collaboration
tools and performance support systems
enable learners to self-direct their learning.
For example, staff uses instant messages
(IM) to communicate with each other. Why
not take this opportunity to push learning
nuggets via IM? Many technologies can
be used as a learning technology without
explicitly naming them as such. Try adding
one or two of these into your training
strategy. Then, observe and collect feedback
on how people interact and explore.

BLENDED LEARNING
IS THE TICKET TO
CREATING A HOLISTIC
LEARNING CULTURE.
AIM FOR THE LOW HANGING FRUIT
Chances are informal learning already takes
place in your organization. Your task is to
identify where these activities are, what
format they come in and how relevant they
are to learning needs. For example, there is
probably a repository of videos, internal wikis,
corporate libraries and mentoring programs
readily available. If not, there is a plethora of
external content that one can access. Open
educational resources (OER) and massive

open online courses (MOOCs) are great,
free resources for general skill training. Open
content can be used as a starting point in
understanding topic areas. Simultaneously,
adding organization-specific examples
enables you to formalize the learning.
SET GOALS AND METRICS
FOR SUCCESS
You want to ensure that you are gathering
meaningful and actionable data for your
informal learning effort. In order to do that,
begin with the end in mind. What goals
are you trying to achieve by implementing
informal learning? Managers and learning
professionals need to work together to
establish which metrics matter the most in
driving business outcomes. Execute preand post-assessments based on the agreedupon metrics. Learning management
systems (LMS) and other technologies
typically have analytic functions that log
content views, generate reports on activity,
dissect discussion forum quality and track
other informal learning usage.
Informal learning is a key component of
any impactful corporate learning strategy
because it gives the learner control over
their learning and supplements formal
training by providing a blended and holistic
learning experience.
Dr. Stella Lee has over 20 years of experience in
consulting, planning, designing, implementing,
and measuring learning initiatives. Today, her
focus is on large-scale learning projects including
LMS evaluation and implementation, learning
analytics, and artificial intelligent applications in
learning. Email Stella.

T R A I N I N G I N DUSTR Y MAGAZ INE -FORMALIZ ING INFORMAL L E ARNI NG 2 019 I W W W .T RAI NI NGI NDU S T RY .C OM/ MAGAZI NE

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Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019

Thinking More Broadly About How Adults Learn
Table of Contents
Mentoring: 4 Keys To Making it a Meaningful Learning Experience
Formalizing Informal Learning: Tinker Dabble Doodle Try
The Accidental Learner
Percolating Builds Depth
Coaching is a Cop-Out
Close More Deals With Story Selling
Partnering for the Power of Knowledge: How Can Knowledge Sharing Foster Collaboration Among L&D and Employees?
Organizational Resiliency: a Function of Leader Adaptability and Versatility
Rules of Engagement for by Laura Francis Mentoring Reverse
Steps to Formally Make The Informal Part of Your Content Strategy
The Play's the Thing': The Power of Story-Based Learning
Fujitsu’s Experiment With Peer Coaching Pays Off
How to be Authentic When Collaborating on Multicultural Virtual Teams
Making the Case for Informal Learning at Work
Formalizing Informal Learning to Improve Performance
Making Learning Fun Again
Investing in the Future of the Worker, Not Just the Future of Work
Company News
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Cover1
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 2
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Thinking More Broadly About How Adults Learn
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Table of Contents
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 5
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 6
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 7
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 8
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Mentoring: 4 Keys To Making it a Meaningful Learning Experience
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 10
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Formalizing Informal Learning: Tinker Dabble Doodle Try
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 12
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - The Accidental Learner
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 14
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Percolating Builds Depth
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Coaching is a Cop-Out
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 17
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 18
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 19
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Close More Deals With Story Selling
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 21
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 22
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 23
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Partnering for the Power of Knowledge: How Can Knowledge Sharing Foster Collaboration Among L&D and Employees?
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 25
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 26
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 27
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 28
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Organizational Resiliency: a Function of Leader Adaptability and Versatility
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 30
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 31
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Rules of Engagement for by Laura Francis Mentoring Reverse
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 33
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 34
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 35
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Steps to Formally Make The Informal Part of Your Content Strategy
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 37
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 38
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 39
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - The Play's the Thing': The Power of Story-Based Learning
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 41
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 42
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 43
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Fujitsu’s Experiment With Peer Coaching Pays Off
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 45
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - How to be Authentic When Collaborating on Multicultural Virtual Teams
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 47
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 48
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 49
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 50
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Making the Case for Informal Learning at Work
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 52
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Formalizing Informal Learning to Improve Performance
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 54
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Making Learning Fun Again
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Investing in the Future of the Worker, Not Just the Future of Work
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Company News
Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - Cover4
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