Future of Business Learning

Corporate eLearning: Why Formal and Informal Employee Training is Important

“Formal education is a walk through the zoo, informal learning is a walk through the savannah”

- Dr Stephen W Hart, The Workplace Change Project

Corporate learning? It's all about driving change and boosting employee performance. But in today's digital age, where social media and mobile devices rule, the way we teach and learn is constantly changing. Companies have to make sure whether they go formal or informal, their training nails it.

Let's not forget about adult learners. They're ready and eager to learn, especially if they know what they're meant to gain from the training. The first step? Chart out those training goals. Then, it's all about devising the best strategy to get there. With informal learning becoming more popular, does that mean it's curtains for formal training? Not quite.



Formal Training: The tried-and-tested path

Formal training is all about the organisation. It's learning with a purpose, where every activity is leading to a goal. Success? Judge it by the assessments and tests. Take compliance training, for example. It demands structure and control. Would you board a flight knowing your pilot learned to fly casually? Probably not. Suppose that's a no for informal aviation training then. And remember, one great thing about formal training is the ability to track progress, letting companies know if they're hitting their targets or not.

AI and Online Learning: High-tech help

But the business world isn't static, it's ever-changing. And with these changes comes the need for technologies in our learning strategies. Yeah, online learning had a rep for being impersonal, but hey, AI is changing the game! Think virtual instructors and chatbots. Now, learners can go at their own pace, and companies get to save some dough on hiring trainers.

Informal Learning: Finding lessons in everyday life

On the flip side is informal learning. It's all about learning on the fly, not even knowing you're learning. Gaining skills and knowledge from daily interactions at work plays a big part here. Ever had mentors, coaches, or on-the-job training? That's informal learning in action. Today, AI-based chatbots are stepping in as virtual mentors and coaches. Have a question? Just ask the bot and voila! Instant response, zero interruptions.

The Shift Toward Digitalisation and Personalisation

Here's the clincher: Informal learning is all about content creation and consumption on the go, giving companies a ton of flexibility. Formal content development can seem rigid and cumbersome. But with informal learning, you can whip up personalised learning experiences in no time. Take onboarding new hires for example. Imagine cutting out all those lengthy procedures and enabling them to become part of the team in an engaging and motivating fashion.

Conclusion: All about balance

In our global and interconnected world, informal learning is gaining ground. With technology breaking down barriers, informal learning experiences can help businesses roll with rapid changes, enhancing productivity and skills.

But let's not throw formal learning out of the window. Formal and informal learning aren't enemies. No, they complement each other perfectly. As lifelong learners, we need a healthy mix of both. Getting the balance just right means our learners have all they need to thrive in the workplace.

Related: Updated 2021: How Training and Development Can Adapt to the Needs of Today's Learners


So, did you find this interesting? Got more tips to share? Drop us a comment and remember to share this piece with your friends or colleagues. Let's keep the conversation going!

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