Cheif Learning Officer Solutions for Enterprise Productivity

The Upsurge of Informal Learning

 -  6/15/11

Informal learning has emerged as an important element in employee development, and collaborative tools and technology help facilitate this process.

Forward-thinking companies realize that while corporate training continues to play an integral role in advancing today’s workforce, informal learning has emerged as an equally important, if not more critical, element. In today’s hyperintense workplace, companies are blending informal learning into their development methodologies, recognizing the value of better informed and better skilled employees who are supported at their point of need, and thus creating more competitive advantage throughout the business.

Organizations seeking to build their competitive advantage through workforce development must evolve their learning management strategies and systems to incorporate informal learning. Not only do today’s employees interact, learn and work in different ways, but most organizations also have an increasingly mobile and geographically dispersed workforce.

Traditional, or formal, learning often takes a top-down approach to educating employees, but informal learning is a more user-driven process that facilitates knowledge and idea sharing when and where it’s needed.

E-Learning: A Precursor
The evolution of technology has made it easier and more effective to adopt informal learning across an enterprise, and the emergence of e-learning has inspired many organizations to shift focus from more traditional classroom-based training.

At its core, e-learning is the computer- and network-enabled transfer of skills and knowledge. Information can be delivered via the Internet, intranets and extranets; satellite TV; and CD-ROMs and DVDs, either self-paced or instructor-led.

While e-learning has made it possible to extend consistent and reliable learning to an entire organization — offering anytime, anywhere access to training and development resources — it’s still seen as an extension of classroom-style, or formal, learning. That’s not to say it doesn’t have value. Formal learning, whether face-to-face or electronic, remains a popular way to train both new and experienced employees to ensure they have the skills, knowledge and competency required to perform their jobs and deliver business results.

Article Keywords:   informal learning   employee development  


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