Another view on the Informal vs. Formal learning

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in instructional design | Tagged | 4 Comments

I really like the posts on the blog Corporate eLearning Strategies & Development. This post gets right to the point of what Corporate Learning departments really need to focus on – enabling the performance of our audiences.

From the post:

Here is a good example of a battle you should stop fighting:  Training Departments taking responsibility for Learning within Corporations.  Give it up folks.  Making employees learn, without their full and complete cooperation, is NOT possible.  So give up the dream that you are all about “creating learning”.  Try it!  You’ll find it quite liberating.

After letting go of the lie of learning creation, you are now freed to actually DO something productive for your organization.  Yes, in fact, there is still work to be done even if you don’t “create learning”.  Remember your instructional systems design certificate course, or masters program that taught you about ADDIE.  The “A” is probably the most important and least used in that system.  Analysis of your People, the Context of their work, and the Content they seek/create, is the most important job to be done.

I love it! Further on the post points out it really the delivery method doesn’t really matter, what matters is we do that Analysis and choose the best method for the needs of our audience.

4 Responses to Another view on the Informal vs. Formal learning

  1. Sreya Dutta says:

    Hi Gina,

    In my org, the training department seems more commercial and are just doing what the department has been doing all these years.

    It will be interesting to see them doing the A phase more and coming up with things that we want to learn and in formats other than expensive ILT.


  2. gminks says:

    Sreya I have another blog post I want to write about *why* training organizations may cling to what they have been doing, I think there are pressures that are keeping everyone where they are.

  3. Jeff Goldman says:

    Analysis IS crucial to the process and can ensure success. I am usually not afforded the time and resources to do a full-blown needs assessment/analysis. However, I always do at least an informal version of one. Whether it is sitting down with the SMEs, the staff that are going to apply the skills/knowledge or their supervisors, I always do some level of analysis and identify the audience, their learning needs, best delivery method, etc. I also find that the more courses I make for a specific audience the easier the analysis becomes since I know more and more ablout my audience and have also learned from prior successes and failures.

    Thanks for the post.

  4. Todd Hudson says:

    Thanks for the post and blog link. Totally agree the main point… You cannot make people learn.

    Check out my blog at for an inspiring story about New Seasons Market in Portland, OR. They’ve created a environment where employee learning takes place naturally and effectively.

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