Formalising Informal Learning

Informal learning can be defined as the way we learn by observing, talking and interacting with our colleagues as opposed to formal learning that is usually the learning we acquire from an instructor or trainer. Both are essential types of learning for us to perform well in our jobs. I started my career working in a research laboratory. Without the formal learning I acquired through my university degree as well as the on-the-job informal learning that I acquired from my colleagues, it would have been impossible for me to fully perform my function.

It is true, however, that if I had to choose between formal and informal learning, then informal learning was what made me perform better day to day as opposed to the many pages of molecular biology textbooks that I had read in my university years. I think this applies to most of us in our job roles, so it has led me to believe that for L&D to really achieve learning in their organization that is effective at improving performance, then it is not just enough to focus on the formal learning.

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