Informal Learning 2.0


Yesterday on video I heard myself stumbling to describe the April 21 session of Corporate Learning Trends & Innovation. I said our theme is improving performance with “natural/informal/web 2.0/connected/social learning. You know what I mean. It’s the vision we’re selling to managers who don’t get it.”

This new learning is strategy, not support. It’s pervasive, not lodged in the HR silo. Today’s learning is a mash-up of performance support, internal communications, collaboration, social software, real-time feeds, organization development, what’s left of knowledge management, collective intelligence, search, nurturing communities, and traditional learning. The focus is shifting from the workshop to the workplace, from courses to conversations, from classrooms to learning environments, and from events to on-going processes.

The fundamentals of informal learning remain the same:

People acquire the skills they use at work informally — talking, observing others, trial-and-error, and simply working with people in the know. Formal training and workshops account for only 10% to 20% of what people learn at work. Most corporations over-invest in formal training while leaving the more natural, simple ways we learn to chance.

What’s new is that in the network era, work and learning become one. Good learning and good work merge to become a single activity. Learning comes out of the training silo to join management’s set of performance drivers.

My colleagues and I at togetherLearn advise organizations on getting the most from this broader concept of learning.

Learning is now the work, not an add-on to support the business. That means that learning has to be integrated into the work. Top-down formal structures won’t be able to keep up with work-driven needs. The new eLeaning is much more informal, collaborative and self-directed. Organizations today needstructures to support, not direct, this change. This is what we call Informal Learning 2.0

Informal Learning 2.0 is not the most elegant term. It won’t last. But for now, it’s our shorthand for, well, natural/informal/web 2.0/connected/social learning.

What do we do at togetherLearn? Informal Learning 2.0.

What’s Informal Learning 2.0? A profit strategy for improving the performance of knowledge-based organizations.