Sep 4, 2009

Taking Learning out of the classroom

We've always known that informal learning/ on the job learning/ real time learning - whatever you choose to call it, is always more valuable than formal classroom learning.

Now a survey by Bersin & Associates (and tweeted by Josh Bersin) shows that 64% of Learning Executives believe informal learning approaches have higher impact, more than two-thirds of corporate training budgets are spent on traditional formal training.

Why should that be?

  1. Well to begin with - social and informal learning happens in the real time work environment. It's a space where learning executives are not present
  2. Spending budgetary dollars would necessitate the need to set up control systems - to find out if they are well spent - and that would actually stifle learning
  3. Current learning leaders are people who have learned primarily how to impart skills using classroom and e-learning - they understand that world - with its imperfections and shortages. Getting them to think about alternate method of ensuring learning is scary for them
What can organizations do?

  1. Clearly formalising informal learning would lead to counter productive results - but firms have to provide infrastructure to aid the process
  2. Getting people to agree to be observed - and conducting a ethnographic research - to actually find out how this learning actually takes place.
  3. Collaborate with Knowledge Management professionals - this is overlapping area for both groups in the organization to achieve results