Magazine article Talent Development

It's Time to Invest in Informal Learning: Few Organizations Are Using Training Dollars to Capture and Incorporate Informal Learning Efforts

Magazine article Talent Development

It's Time to Invest in Informal Learning: Few Organizations Are Using Training Dollars to Capture and Incorporate Informal Learning Efforts

Article excerpt

Although informal learning is widely acknowledged as the mode through which most workplace knowledge and understanding of how to do our jobs is achieved, it's clear that capturing tacit and informal learning knowledge in a system is challenging. Few organizations report that they are attempting it--just 4 percent of respondents to a recent ASTD/ Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) study report ease in doing so to a high or very high extent.

Social learning technologies certainly can help address this, but most organizations are still in the early stages (if at all) of using technology to capture the tacit knowledge of the workforce. And few organizations have committed resources to even begin to make this happen.

Informal Learning: The Social Evolution, sponsored by Skillsoft, is a follow-up to a joint 2008 study on the subject. It found that few organizations invest much, if any, of their learning budgets in informal learning. In fact, budgets for informal learning in 2012 remain unchanged since the 2008 study.

The survey was conducted in August 2012 among primarily high-level business, HR, and learning professionals. A total of 351 usable responses were collected from respondents representing a variety of organizational sizes and industries.

More than one-third (36 percent) of respondents to a survey that informed the study report that their organizations didn't earmark training dollars in their budgets for informal learning. This represents virtually zero movement from four years earlier, when the study found that 36 percent of organizations didn't allocate funds for informal learning from their training budgets.

Not surprising, those who report that their organizations found that informal learning enhanced their employee performance were much more likely to allocate a higher percentage of their training budget to that effort.

So why the resistance to investing in informal learning? …

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