Informal or Formal Learning Quiz

It’s the Research that made me do it. Research summaries provided by Dr. Richard E. Clark:

It is true that people often construct their knowledge by drawing on their prior knowledge and by trial and error learning. However, that fact does not imply that the most effective and efficient way to train is to let people discover and construct what they need in “communities of practice.”

In fact, the evidence from the past 50 years of research on this issue is unequivocal – unguided or minimally guided discovery and constructivist learning programs simply do not work for more than a very small percentage of people.

– from: ASTD 2005 Research-to-Practice Conference Proceedings
How to Turn Research into Successful Practice: A Technology of Performance Design for Organizations, Teams and Individuals
Richard E. Clark – Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California

So here is a little quiz…for which of these jobs would you recommend to the CEO that “Informal Learning” is the approach to best ensure the strategic plan?

Click on it to enlarge it for reading…or to copy.

There are a lot of cool Web 2.0 and 3.0 applications available and still coming that provide a vehicle for LEARNING as well as for PERFORMING. Even more importantly for PERFORMING. That’s where the ROI is…in their use in Performing.

Searching “in the workflow” for non-routine information, or chatting about regulatory requirements of new customers in a new country out in cyberspace with Internet chat buddies, is all very good. But investing in these new tools should be made primarily for business performance reasons, not learning reasons. Just as using them should be primarily for business performance reasons, not learning reasons.

For the PUSH Target Audiences.

And individuals who wish to grow in directions self-determined or undetermined will leverage off what Enterprise needs have spawned. They are the PULL Target Audiences. Not the PUSH Target Audiences.

Just as we can all thank past NASA’s needs and federal funding for our MP3 Players that generated the technology for miniaturized electronics – turning room-sized computers back-in-the-day that NASA needed to be much smaller with much less weight – a response to a need that now makes them both possible.

Let the Enterprise need “to perform” drive those investments in Collaborative Tools (Social Networks).

Sometimes learning in the workflow is sometimes too late with dire consequences.

Not always.

But I don’t think Informal Learning is going to come up as the solution to critical business issues of strategic importance.

You know, as in: “We’re betting the whole company here. We’d better lean more toward informal learning than formal learning to meet our fiduciary responsibilities to our shareholders, and the requirements of our customers and needs of our employees.”

Let the Enterprise need for Internet connectivity and Collaborative Tools to PERFORM “prove in” the ROI…and then focus the learning on how to use them. That will be their primary role in learning…to enable performing.

Here are my answers to my quiz.

My answers are based on my prior project experiences with clients needing to address their current state of inadequate formal training for these jobs/processes…

…where what they had, if anything, wasn’t performance-based – and didn’t have a prayer of improving post-learning performance on the job. Competent performance – Performance Competence.

Which should always be the first objective for any Enterprise Learning funded by the financial equity of owners/shareholders.

Learning not for the sake of Learning. Learning for the sake of the Enterprise.

What is driving your answers and approaches? How are you aligning yourself?

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