Building Capability with Informal Learning

You may have heard of the 70:20:10 framework and are wondering if you should incorporate it in your L&D strategy.

70:20:10 is a model which describes how learning happens. According to Charles Jennings “70:20:10 is a framework that helps organisations extend their focus on learning and development beyond the classroom and course-based eLearning.”

The principle of the model is that a large proportion of organisational learning is informal, with 70% taking place in the workflow, 20% as social learning from colleagues and only 10% in formal training. 

In their 2015 Benchmark, Towards Maturity report that 86% of ‘Top Desk’ organisations are influenced by models which support learning in the workflow.

In working with clients we use the 70:20:10 framework to help structure our discussions.  However 70:20:10 should not be considered hard and fast numbers, as the way learning takes place varies depending on the stage of development of the learner and their level in the organisation. 

Many of our customers have developed their training intervention strategy around the Kirkpatrick model. Kirkpatrick Partner’s have now developed a ‘new world model’ which considers the importance of informal learning

While organisations have invested time on level 1 (Reaction) and level 3 (Behaviour) using TNAs and sophisticated happy sheets, Kirkpatrick’s research has found that organisations only manage to identify around 15% of the data they need for formal training. For informal learning the challenge of understanding the learning, behaviour and results is even greater.

So what can be done to ensure informal learning delivers against business objectives?

When upskilling employees, organisations need a coordinated approach which provides structure to both formal and informal learning. Relating learning to job skills and behaviours, establishing milestones and measuring achievement are just as important for informal learning.

Learning management systems which enable the capture of both formal and informal learning outcomes can provide this structure. It can be the employee, manager or coach providing evidence of specific learning outcomes or CPD.

But how do you motivate people to engage with and understand the value of social or workplace learning initiatives?

In organisations with a true learning culture employees are encouraged and rewarded for sharing what they know, how they do things and their successes.  Communities of practise can help to facilitate the sharing of content and ideas, coach and mentor learners, and recognise achievements.

Gamification can be used as a way to motivate, however it has to be done carefully. Finding yourself at the bottom of a leader board can have the opposite effect, whilst other forms of gamification can work well. 

Visibility of achievement is an important motivating factor for employees, as well as providing the organisation with an understanding of skill and ability. Badges can be used to recognise learning and achievement and be built into stackable credentials.  Establishing corporate standards for badges is important so that learners value the achievement.

It is important to understand the power of informal learning in organisations. By structuring the process, introducing solutions which facilitate and measure, and establishing a culture which recognises the value, informal learning will have a greater business impact.

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