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How to Boost L&D with Informal Learning

June 26, 2017, Caitlin Bigsby - You probably already know that the learning ecosystem is evolving as user-driven learning gains prominence. So, how do we curate content, give learners flexible access to that content and measure the effectiveness of informal learning?
How to Boost L&D with Informal Learning

Spoiler alert: Giving people comprehensive learning and development opportunities means you’ll see better engagement, productivity and retention in your organization. But that’s no spoiler because you already knew that!

The benefits of a culture of learning

Learning programs help build on the strengths people already have as they learn new or enhance existing knowledge and skills. There’s ample research that supports building a culture of learning to lead to better business results. The simple truth is organizations that make learning a priority will get ahead while those that don’t fall behind.

The best part about building learning programs today? The variety of sources of content and flexibility in learning modes. We live in a time when learning no longer means sitting in a room while an instructor walks you through materials. Instead, people can seek out opportunities to build knowledge in a plethora of ways that include both traditional formal and informal learning options.

The move toward informal learning

It’s the informal learning options that have generated a broad spectrum of options and greater accessibility to content they can grow their knowledge and skills. With an internet connection, learning is just a click away. Search a topic, read a blog, watch a video, download a book, listen to a podcast, watch a webinar – all to get expert advice on just about any subject you can think of.

 

There’s no shortage of information you can absorb and use to do your job smarter, better or faster, depending on how you plan to use the knowledge you gain.

The challenges around informal learning

The increased use of informal learning has introduced similar challenges because of how work is changing:

 

  • The increase of contingent and remote workers, good communication practices are critical.
  • People are seeking out information on their own via the web and on mobile devices.
  • Collaboration and on-the-job interactions make up a huge chunk of learning opportunities.
  • Skills need to be renewed regularly, but not enough employers provide growth opportunities.

The challenges mean that learning professionals’ jobs are also evolving. Instead of creating, they need to curate. They need to give people access to flexible content that fits the way they work and learn. They need to build a culture of learning throughout the organization with the support of managers and other leaders. They need to make open communication a priority. Finally, they need to be able to easily identify in-house expertise.

Measuring the impact of learning

Learning about anything and everything won’t get the results organizations want from their efforts. They have to assess their needs based on the desired outcomes for the organization as a whole and for each individual.

So, how do you manage and track informal learning without destroying what makes it so effective?

How do you foster the engagement, agility and collaboration that informal learning brings while establishing boundaries that ensure relevance?

Putting an invisible fence around informal learning

On Thursday, June 29 at 9:00 a.m. EDT/1:00 p.m. GMT, we’re hosting a webinar and David Wentworth of Brandon Hall Group will join me to answer these questions and more.

The discussion on the webinar will include an overview of how the learning ecosystem is evolving as user-driven learning gains prominence. We’ll also talk about how to measure learning effectiveness to informal learning. And we’ll provide strategies and tools to help you build a structure to informal learning that works for everyone.

People want to learn on their own and, in today’s world, they need to if they’re going to keep moving forward in their work. So, knowing how to address and embrace these new learning modes is critical to businesses that want better results.

Sign up for the webinar today so we can help you get started on the right path to guide and measure informal learning.

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