Learning into Your Employee Training

How to Integrate Informal Learning into Your Employee Training

Informal learning is often impromptu.

Its unpredictable nature makes it easy to dismiss.

But that doesn’t mean you should completely exclude it from your structured training and development program.

Don’t have a functional learning management system yet? Design one here.

It may just be the secret ingredient you need to enhance employee engagement and broaden an employee’s experiential knowledge.

In steps, the 70-20-10 model!

What Is the 70-20-10 Model for Learning and Development?

The 70-20-10 model for learning and development is a global tool used to enhance the effectiveness of employee training.

According to this model:

  1. 70% of learning is experiential through on-the-job experiences.
  2. 20% is derived from working with others, or social learning.
  3. 10% comes from structured learning solutions.

Informal learning occurs where employees independently seek out training materials outside the scope of scheduled training sessions.

It also presents itself through spontaneous problem-solving of challenges that arise in the daily operations of a company.

So, how do you integrate informal learning into your employee training? Here are four strategies to get you started.

Draw From Daily Experiences

It’s quite common for employees to run into problems during their day-to-day activities. These can lack specific manuals that align with the company’s goals.

This prompts the employees to hop online and have a quick look at videos, articles, and cheat sheets that may seem relevant.

Imagine several employees each accessing different materials and implementing this without clearance.

This can undermine the existing formal learning tailored towards ensuring streamlined operations across the organization. Especially in the case of franchise management.

It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. You can take advantage of the strategies they implement that work!

Simply package each informal learning experience into incident reports. Then incorporate them into your existing LMS by centering them on targeted goals.

“We decided to keep the simplicity of the system. This way the users are able to choose the right template quickly and submit the necessary information as soon as possible. We believe that giving the users less amount of options makes this process more effective. At this moment all the incidents are simply escalated to a central Human Resources point and then referred on to the correct parties outside of the platform.” – Fantastic Holdings Ltd

Meet with your training and development team to identify your primary learning objectives and then develop informal learning activities that support them.

“A key point of difference for our company is our in-house professional development pathways. Some years ago we developed a process to help new employees improve their skills in areas relevant to our clinic. Short learning modules developed different clinical skills.”- Movement For Life

Implement Microlearning

With less time and shorter attention spans, microlearning is all the rage these days!

Take this “Forgetting Curve” diagram, by Hermann Ebbinghaus, for instance.

We literally forget 80% of what we learned in 30 days!

Imagine how much more difficult it is to recall the supplementary information curated through informal learning.

Microlearning is the ultimate solution to this memory handicap.

It entails packaging content into bite-sized learning pieces that get your employees to quickly learn and apply it.

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Why microlearning?

  • Employees apply their learning on the go and at their own pace. The content acts as “revision flashcards”.
  • It provides them with the flexibility to learn on any device, whenever they want to. Simply design a common repository for all supplementary online training materials they may need.
  • The information enhances employee engagement because of its rich media format.

Provide a microlearning ‘online bank’ that features interactive content and online product demos. The content can take different formats, such as:

  • Mobile apps for learning and assessment
  • Short videos
  • Interactive videos
  • Whiteboard animations
  • Kinetic text-based animations
  • Interactive PDFs
  • Infographics
  • eBooks
  • PDFs
  • Flipbooks

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Check out some of the ways today’s online tools are transforming employee training and engagement.

Managers and Mentorship

“Every fortnight, new employees get together with a mentor, spend an hour undertaking hands-on training, and are then required to complete the online module to consolidate the skills learned. Managers can then track who has undertaken what skills training, and who is capable of treating a client with that particular presentation.” – Movement For Life

Managers are at the forefront of human capital management:

  • Managers are familiar with all the company’s best practices from report formats to customer service.
  • When overseeing employees’ work, managers play a unique “parenting” role, and only step in as needed.
  • Managers can even facilitate numerous informal learning opportunities.

Your managers – like all personnel – simply need the right training and resources:

  • Provide managers with regular updates where they are briefed on emerging issues and their possible solutions.
  • Ensure access to online training tutorials and materials tailored for management.
  • Be resourceful – provide a secure online forum exclusively for managers, supervisors, and department heads.

One of the greatest informal learning resources of any thriving organization is its seasoned staff. Since they have been with the organization longer, they possess a wealth of sharable experience.

An online mentorship program is the best platform to utilize all that knowledge with their coworkers while getting new perspectives from newcomers.

Use a reliable video conferencing system and encourage employees to use a project management platform to streamline the process.

Here’s a perfect guide on how to build a corporate culture for remote teams that will be beneficial as you set up your mentorship teams.

Create a Sense of Community

We get it. Discussion forums can seem a tad unprofessional. But at Bras and Things, the stats speak for themselves with more than 27,961 posts to date!

“Forums engage the team! We will often see them posting outside of business/shift times. Are forums relevant? To quote a team member ‘this is better than Facebook’. The outcome was a bridge between our 200 retail stores creating a small company feels in a big organization.”

The community tends to boost accountability so a peer-based mentoring program can come in handy!

Organize design thinking workshops where employees themselves can brainstorm solutions for different situations.

This scenario-based training enhances employee engagement as they create videos of themselves completing tasks.

Pair up employees so they can support and motivate each other through these fun little challenges that are a lot like “escape rooms”.

Afterward, they can complete a written assessment of a case study they have read and upload their videos or written documentation.

The whole exercise can be monitored and graded by your managers.

Introduce an interactive online community group where employees can freely share their experiences, challenges, and post-course-related content.

You can get all sorts of indirect feedback that could be incredibly useful in improving your LMS for future learners.

Consider updating the training to include personal experiences shared by your own employees from the group chats (with their permission of course).

Over time, you’ll have a wealth of information unique to your organization. You can even package it for quicker induction of new employees. Take it from Movement For Life!

“The feedback has been very positive. New employees like the idea that they can track their pre-employment paperwork and have some idea of the company structure, objectives, vision, and mission prior to entering the workplace. Less experienced employees feel that they are brought up to speed on the required clinical skills faster, and have opportunities to review their learning as they choose. Meanwhile, more experienced employees have clearer pathways to follow, helping them navigate through the vast quantity of professional development opportunities and achieve their desired goal faster.”

Here are free employee engagement posters to get you started.

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Disclaimer: This information is meant to provide general guidelines and should be used as a reference. It may not take into account all relevant local, state or federal laws and is not a legal document. Neither the author nor World Manager will assume any legal liability that may arise from the use of this information.

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