Your Informal Learning Questions, Answered

by Emily Manley | Posted | Learning

Your Informal Learning Questions, Answered

Last month, I co-hosted a webinar with learning and development expert and author of Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go, Julie Winkle Giulioni. The webcast, titled, Mythbusting: How to Maximize the Impact of Informal Learning, did a really great job of explaining some of the common misconceptions about the informal learning strategies that organizations implement. Plus, Julie talked about getting past those misconceptions and maximizing the impact of informal learning. If you weren't able to attend, I'd definitely recommend watching it on-demand.

As with any webinar, lecture, keynote or other talks on an interesting topic, there were tons of really intriguing questions. So, we thought we'd take some of the questions we collected about informal learning and answer them for you.

Can you tell me more about encouraging your employees to search for their learning outside the LMS and bringing it back to their job, and how does that work in Saba?

This is a great question. To answer the first part, empowering employees to go out into the world (wide web) to find their own learning content is no easy task. I believe it starts with ingraining this drive to find information and learn on an ongoing basis into an organization's culture. Consider some of these options for fostering a culture of continuous learning and development:

  • Encourage your employees to set learning objectives during goal-setting processes
  • Show your commitment to a learning culture by setting departmental training budgets to be spent on MOOCs, conferences or courses
  • Add aspects of learning and development to your organizational mission statement, annual goals, etc.
  • Encourage managers to "make space" for employees to pursue learning at work by not overloading with tasks or assigning learning tasks outright

As far as how this works within Saba, our Saba Discovery tool is very well-suited for empowering informal learning. Using this tool, employees can record, tag, share, and organize any learning content from around the web using a simple button that sits in the bookmarks bar in their web browser.


By using this button, also called a bookmarklet, it's easy for employees to funnel learning content into Saba where it's added to what we call a Learning Record Store.

Everything the employee has shared is recorded in your system. That way managers are aware of what the employee is learning and what sources they are using and have that discussion about it in the 1:1 meeting. And the L&D team can record what's popular in the back end using our reporting/analytics capabilities. It's really all about centralizing all learning into that one location, whether it comes from the web or the LMS.

What is the background of a community manager role?

During the webinar, Julie talked about this exciting new function popping up in organizations' L&D departments. She actually wrote all about it for this blog not too long ago. Read her article, The Emerging Role Of The Learning Community Manager to learn all about this new position.

How can informal learning tech products interface with other HR systems (like goal-setting and performance appraisal)?

In Saba, our Learning and Performance products are built with one another in mind. You can easily align learning and performance goals with one another, and track learning and performance progress against one another. And with Saba, you have the flexibility to decide if you want these goal-setting and appraisal processes to occur on a traditional annual basis or in a more ongoing and agile fashion.

What can L&D teams do to help employees who are less adept at searching for informal learning content?

One of Julie's "busted myths" from the webinar was that all of today's employees are expert searchers who can find just about anything they need to learn about with some quick Google searches. The fact is that not everyone is great at this.

There are a few things you can do to help in this regard. You can:

  • Provide employees with great sources like industry blogs so that they have a starting point
  • Leverage the social element of informal learning by having employees share the best content they find (and provide them with tools that help them do so)
  • Create a document for your employees around best practices around searching for informal learning content (where to look for what, how to organize it, and how to share it with others in the organization)

Get to know the misconceptions about informal learning

Miss the webcast? Fear not. You can watch the webinar, Mythbusting: How to Maximize the Impact of Informal Learning on-demand whenever you want!

Once you've watched the recording of the webinar, feel free to submit any questions you might have in the comments below!

Busting Myths About Informal Learning

Learn how to transform mere information into skill-building and behavior-changing instructional interventions.


Watch Today
Cover of the book
Cover of the book

Busting Myths About Informal Learning

Learn how to transform mere information into skill-building and behavior-changing instructional interventions.


Watch Today


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