3 Ways to Support Informal Learning at Work

Our last blended learning blog post discussed ways to capture social learning. Now, we’ll show you how to use that data so you can support and enhance that learning within your organization.

Informal Learning Happens Everywhere

Because people are constantly learning in the workplace, it’s essential to take action to support and enhance these types of informal learning experiences in your company or organization.

Remember, informal learning examples may include peer-to-peer conversations, web searches, or online videos. And getting started is easy with the following steps.

1) Identify and promote experts.

When you map out social learning in your organization, you’ll find that certain people are regularly credited as sources of learning on particular topics. Whether these people are subject matter experts or just excellent at explaining certain areas, they’re valuable sources for informal training in your organization.

Often, people will find these internal experts independently (e.g., your data shows that most employees learn from them). However, unless these experts are publicly known within your organization, not everyone will have the benefit of learning from them.

Furthermore, some workplace learners may waste time and resources looking for information when they could have simply reached out to an internal expert.

By publishing areas of expertise, perhaps on an intranet or staff directory, it’s easier and quicker to find the right people when needed. And by using your captured data about informal learning, you ensure that you’re promoting the most helpful experts and the most popular L&D topics.

2) Enhance online community management.

When it comes to online learning, use your captured learning data to help improve the overall structure of your social learning platforms.

For example, you might discover that two groups are learning about the same or similar topics. Bringing those groups together could benefit everyone involved. On the other hand, your data might tell you that people learn best in smaller groups, which then influences your choice of platform tools and setup.

3) Plan office layouts and seating arrangements.

Use your data about in-person social training to determine office layouts and seating arrangements that promote and reinforce informal learning.

For example, create a seating arrangement that allows certain people to be near internal experts. Or, rearrange desks if one team is regularly learning from others whose desks are on the opposite side of the building.

Up Next: Track & Support Work-Based Learning

We hope you’ve been enjoying our series on blended learning. In our next post, we’ll explain how to track and support work-based learning in your organization.

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