Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2019 - 53

SECRETS OF SOURCING
DOUG HARWARD

FORMALIZING INFORMAL
LEARNING TO IMPROVE
PERFORMANCE

Over the last few years, the concept of
formalizing informal learning has seen
quite a debate. Some believe that we
should not formalize informal learning, as
it is the heart of how most people learn
and consume information to do their
job. I completely agree that learners get
the most relevant information through
informal means like social learning and
on-the-job training. But, if we ignore
improving informal learning activities,
then we'd only be focused on formal
learning, which accounts for only 10 to
20% (O-S-F Ratio) of the information that
learners use to perform their job.
I'm a believer that training leaders should
be involved in all aspects of the learning
experience. Formalizing informal content
is not about eliminating informal learning.
It's about embracing informal learning and
finding ways to put more structure around
how learners learn in informal environments
- and from informal resources.
In our book, "What Makes a Great Training
Organization," Ken Taylor and I posed it not
so much as a choice, but a necessary best
practice for building a high-performing
training organization. Our research found
that informal content is agreeably the
highest consumed form of information
related to how we do a job well. But the
best practice is in making informal, ondemand content as organized, curated
and structured as possible to make it an
efficient way of learning.
A similar concept was made very popular
from research done by Dr. Anders Ericsson
and outlined in his book, "Peak: Secrets
from the New Science of Expertise."

Dr. Ericsson found through years of
research that individuals who performed
at a very high level, the highest of
their profession, achieved expertise by
being very deliberate about how they
practiced and learned their skill. This idea
of practice is similar to the concept of
informal learning in corporate training.
It's basically learning by doing.
Informal learning is essentially the
practice of learning while you are doing
the job, using the informal consumption
of information. Informal learning
becomes deliberate when the learning
is organized, curated, well planned,
measured and reinforced.
For those who lead a training organization,
an important question to ask is, "How do
we implement a strategy for formalizing
informal learning?" The best approach
is to first understand all the sources of
information a learner/worker utilizes while
on the job, and then create a plan on how
each can be more structured, curated and
supported to make access, measurement
and feedback more efficient.
It may involve creating a structured
on-the-job training program where
practice activities are embedded into
the daily job routine. When a coach or
mentor are utilized to help learners, it
is recommended to train the coach or
mentor to help them be as structured
and effective at providing feedback and
direction. An evaluation method should
also be used to help the learner assess
their own performance and when they
need to improve on certain aspects of
the job.

If your organization is not well versed in
these practices, it is highly recommended
that you engage training consultants who
are experts in designing learning systems
that include each of these practices. These
types of solutions are not about hiring
companies to deliver courses for you. It's
about having resources to help in the
design of learning solutions for on-the-job
routines, technologies for curated content,
and the production of job aids related to
tasks and on-the-job problems a worker
may encounter.

HIGH-PERFORMING
TRAINING
ORGANIZATIONS
DO NOT LEAVE
LEARNING TO CHANCE.
From where I sit, the concept of formalizing
informal learning is not one that we can
ignore. The reason we exist as training
leaders is to create solutions that facilitate
effective and efficient performance
improvement. For too long our profession
has been focused on creating formal courses
and operating as a mini schoolhouse or
corporate university inside the company.
The future of training management is
about creating performance improvement
systems and less about creating courses.
High-performing training organizations
do not leave learning to chance; they are
deliberate, organized and embrace all
aspects of the learning experience.
Doug Harward is CEO of Training Industry, Inc.
and a former learning leader in the high-tech
industry. Email Doug.

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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https://www.trainingindustry.com/magazine

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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