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Informal Learning: optimizing the development of human resources

A Learning Management System, configured through an integrated ecosystem of Apps, allows companies to deliver low-cost training activities such as Informal Learning.

Informal Learning and Human Resources

The Informal Learning approach is a great opportunity to create processes to monitor and optimize the development of human resources for those organizations that are looking for innovative solutions.

People never stop learning: on top of this, we need to be conscious that we also learn unintentionally and involuntarily. With this set of statements, we can confidently affirm that in working environments a life-long learning method is part of a holistic, business-like learning methodology.

According to classical studies, there are three learning methods: formal, non-formal, and informal. These three learning practices are pedagogical challenges; three systems that have to be managed, and three different investments for organizations.

By activating all these processes simultaneously, the company can achieve an effective Life Long Learning program.

Using a Learning Management System for Informal LearningFormal, Non-Formal and Informal Learning

Formal learning is essential for businesses because each industry has an established set of rules and procedures that must be followed in order to cultivate workers.
Trainings are often strictly organized. It can be challenging companies to change and adopt innovative methodologies that will also help saving costs.

The non-formal learning technique is taught by a more formal approach that brings the learning experience to a higher level. For over 10 years, e-learning technology has been supporting the shift from instructor-led classes, to a virtual learning environment.

As a result, many companies have expanded the target audience of their training programs without increasing costs. By bringing the digital culture into the company, human resources have the potential of unlimited growth, without time constraints or physical barriers, while still respecting laws and regulation requirements.

It is a huge opportunity, since the learning dynamics that naturally take place outside of a scheduled training event are a common ground for informal learning. As these dynamics occur, the company can then utilize them into the a long-term strategy plan.

Building effective Learning Experiences

Informal Learning, Problem SolvingWe have identified possible informal learning experiences, or experiences which occur unexpectedly and spontaneously. These have the power of reinforcing the ultimate goal of an effective learning experience; such as individuals acquiring specific skills.

For example, a meeting without a predefined or agreed upon agenda is a setting for informal learning. Chats via common messaging software, a conference call, a live meeting, or an open discussion forum, are all learning practices: We find a problem, analyze possible solutions to solve it, and receive information in these informal learning contexts.

It is obvious that from a mere quantitative standpoint, these informal learning environments are sometimes better than structured ones; the idea that what is learned through informal situations are easily absorbed by learners.

Informal Learning to optimize the development of human resources

Informal Social Learning Environments

Informal learning groups are named Informal Social Learning Environments, and it is recognized as one of the major issues to be addressed to human resources for the coming years.

The individual informal learning, or group informal learning is therefore a breakthrough for some organizations. The company as a whole must consider Human Resources’ development for this type of learning experience; to meet, or exceed, their target while reducing training costs.

In order to handle this type of learning, companies should contemplate some basic questions:

  • What have my employees informally learned?
  • Is this a possible avenue to explore?
  • What are the benefits my company can earn from informal learning?
  • How can the company better support this type of learning practice?

When it comes to assessing a broad spectrum of informal learning scenarios, it is essential to exercise the appropriate tools to discover new trends, and the results achieved.

Learning Management Systems & Informal Learning

A platform such as a Learning Management System allows more flexibility. With integrations to other digital apps and systems, this allows employees to practice and allow synchronous learning. Here are some key points to consider:

  • assessment of skills acquired with an informal style
  • recognition of the results achieved through systems of badges and certificates
  • analysis of the materials used informally

In an ideal world, we could learn together in one single environment. The Learning Management System data shows which skills our employees have achieved on a daily basis through informal learning.

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