This is the first of three articles on Real Learning. This article looks at the ten year history of informal learning and the challenges involved in encouraging its use. The next article explains what people need to know and do to learn for themselves and work smarter. The third article looks at the role of Real Learning in organizational transformation.
Ten years ago I argued that most people learn to do their jobs informally, not from training or formal courses. It was a radical message at the time. Most people rejected the notion or chose to overlook it.
I wrote a book about Informal Learning, authored scores of articles, and gave countless presentations on the subject in the U.S. and Europe. I earned the reputation of being the “informal learning guy”.
Research showed that 80+% of the way people learn their jobs is informal. I asked why, if Informal Learning was carrying more of the load, did organizations invest most of their spend on Learning and Development on formal learning? Profit oriented managers were intrigued, but they didn’t know what to do about it. It was an emperor’s new clothes moment.