"nformal learning is the unofficial, impromptu way people learn how to do their jobs. This infographic outlines why we shouldn’t ignore informal learning and describes the models developed by Jay Cross, Dan Pontefract and “70:20:10″, which put a framework around this style of learning. A very interesting read."
Peter Casebow, CEO of GoodPractice, has called for "high quality resources" to support the more informal way of learning.
"This strong tendency to opt for informal learning is at odds with the perceptions of learning and development professionals," he said.
"L&D provision still often relies on traditional methods of workplace learning such as formal courses and classroom instruction. This implies an imbalance between what learners want and what L&D is currently providing - this needs to be addressed.
"We need to nurture internal networks and communities of practice and develop high quality resources to support more informal ways of learning."
Nigel Paine, strategic advisor on leadership and talent development, added: "GoodPractice has done us all a great service by confronting us with what managers actually do to develop themselves and what they like best and get the most out of. More formal programmes of learning are not dead but they are harder to access and rarely coincide with the moment of need."
The Planning Trap
I used to believe in the perfect “annual plan” all wrapped in MBO goodness, aligned and linked to organizational objectives. But over time I’ve come to two conclusions. First, the plans are rarely fully realized. The more interesting innovations and strategies emerged from responses to opportunities throughout the year. Second, senior teams rarely have their act together enough to create strategies and business plans that are meaningful enough to wrap a good training plan around. Highly analytic planning processes can deceive us into thinking we are planning strategically and improving future organizational performance.
To borrow an argument from Henry Mintzberg, strategy is actually a pattern embodied in day to day work more than an annual plan. Strategy is consistency in behaviour, whether or not intended. Formal plans may go unrealized, while patterns may emerge from daily work. In this way strategy can emerge from informal learning. I always like this image of planning from Mintzberg:
So, the question is: What are the most critical intangible assets in your company? What are you doing to cultivate them? Who is responsible for managing the invisible that creates the intangibles?
Todd Hudson discusses how the New Seasons Market chain uses a very informal approach not just for senior employees (where it seems to be a more natural fit) but for new hires as well. Criticism is often leveled against informal learning methods in that they don’t work for basic skills training. The New Seasons Market, with nine outlets, shows otherwise:
At New Seasons, you won’t see new hires crammed into three days of New Employee Training that’s so common today. After their Day One Orientation, New Seasons newbies are pretty much set free in their departments. “New Seasons’ training is like a Waldorf School experience. There’s no codified way for people to learn most jobs. People are told to look around, figure it out and ask for help when they need it,” said Charla [HR Director].
The company starts its hiring based on attitude, “We look for candidates more interested in genuine human interactions than in an ‘items per hour’ ratio”. I recommended in soft skills are foundational competencies that hiring for attitude makes more sense because you can always train for skills later.
Task variety and standardization: Routine vs. knowledge work
Instead of over generalizing the value of any solution it’s best to truly understand the skill and knowledge requirements of the jobs, roles or initiatives you support. I’m not talking about task or needs analysis (through both are valuable tools). Instead go up one notch higher and categorize of the types of “work” you support in your organization. Almost all work, indeed entire organizations and industries, vary on a continuum of two broad factors: task variety and task standardization.
"every single organization has an informal network where 70% of the work takes place" http://ur1.ca/3md2v
Each week that I am able to participate in #lrnchat discussion I post a summary of the discussion to my blog. I do this both for my personal development as well as sharing with the Learning and Development Profession at large. This summary is based on my own interpretations of the chat; others who participated may have differing opinions or interpretations of the discussion. I welcome those that do to add your ideas to the comments.
"Kirkpatrick & others have driven learning professionals down a blind alley trying to perfect the largely irrelevant" http://ur1.ca/34vik
Formal Training = 5% | Working = 95% http://is.gd/jHF5u Prepare/Deploy Reinforce
good diagrams for social and informal learning
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