One of the most effective solutions for employee development to have emerged in the past decade is the online delivery of skills. WIth stunningly designed online or eLearning courses, employees enjoy learning and are able to retain information better as compared to the printed course material distributed during the traditional classroom training.
Moreover, since online courses are self-paced employees can engage with the content at their will without feeling pressured to match up to speed with everyone else. With tools like iSpring, learning becomes even more convenient for employees because of the quick access to training material on all kinds of mobile devices. But is eLearning enough in itself? Apparently, no.
Employees often find it monotonous and depressing to learn alone through an online self-paced course. However engaging the visuals may be or well-structured the content is, it has been noticed they tend to get disengaged after a point. L&D professionals suggest aiding online course material with other ways of learning like informal learning experiences.
Here’s how informal learning in the workplace helps in ensuring better development of employee skills:
Address skills gap:
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A lot of times employees fail to acquire skills from a training program despite it being very clearly explained through the training content. So the skills gap you want to close could remain unaddressed.
This may not always mean that the training program needs to be changed, rather it could be that the employee fails to understand how to apply the gained knowledge. By providing employees informal learning through peers, you can ensure they learn the implementation of concepts learned in the online training courses.
A training program is usually built to address the training needs of a group of individuals having similar roles & responsibilities or working on the same project. It is impossible to personalize the content based on every single employee’s learning needs.
With informal learning, an employee’s areas of improvement can be addressed separately without including a whole topic just for them in the training program. This makes the learning process learner-centric and satisfies their queries directly, leading to better retention of knowledge and skills.
A formal training program has a set structure and assessment at different points to evaluate employee learning progress. Moreover, employee performance is often judged based on the results of these assessments. This often induces stress and can make it difficult for employees to concentrate on learning.
Now imagine a scenario where you were trying to do a task at work and kept failing so you decided to ask the manager for guidance. They help you address the issue immediately and see in real-time how to tackle the situation. This kind of informal learning happens spontaneously and is easy-going.
Requires no planning:
A formal training program requires a lot of time and investment. L&D pros put in a lot of effort to create and curate training content that will help in employee growth. This could take a lot of time to ensure the program is perfect and fulfills the organizational training goals without fail.
In contrast, informal learning requires absolutely no planning and can be delivered on-demand from peer to peer or from mentors/seniors in the workplace. At the same time, employees can immediately start using the knowledge they have gained which leads to quicker results.
Just providing eLearning is not enough, neither is informal learning the solo solution to employee development. A good balance of both can help them understand concepts and learn the right way to apply them. Doing so will also keep employee engagement levels high which is much required for business growth.