A Learning Path – It’s Not a Stairway to Heaven

All Learning Starts Out As Informal Learning

Then somebody decides that it is worth the time and trouble to formalize it. But if not – it remains informal.

They spoke it to others and/or demonstrated it to others – or they wrote it down and it was read – in the past – and in the present.

Some spoke it and or demonstrated it deliberately – and others inadvertently – perhaps in response to a question or a need in the moment.

Some learned well enough – and other did not.

Some came across things in a book – deliberately – and others by accident while looking for other content.

Some put two and two together – and with some multiplier affect – plus perhaps some subtraction, additional and/or division  – came up with 22 instead of 4.

Nowadays we can still learn from what we hear, see and read – deliberately and/or inadvertently. Synchronously and asynchronously.

Same as it ever was.

Nowadays we can both hear and see audio podcasts and video podcasts  – that someone thought important enough to capture this content – much the same as someone who wrote it down – or hired the writers to write it down.

And sometimes that is enough. That works well enough.

And sometimes it is not enough.

Sometimes it is trickier than that.

Sometimes it needs Formal Learning.

Formal Learning – When It’s Both Too Tricky and It Is Important Enough

Otherwise, why bother? Just because you can?

Telling Ain’t Training – says and writes my ISPI colleague Harold Stolovitch.

Otherwise, that would suffice, telling them.

But it is not sufficient for many things – but not everything.

Sometimes “tellin’ ’em is enough. Enough to enable the “Learner” to become a “Performer.”

The learning continuum – the blends of blends – goes from very informal to very informal – and depending on what model or models you subscribe to – can have many notches on that belt. It’s not black and white – and either formal or informal.

If there is any guidance – any structure – is it still informal?

Life is a Blend

But we make such a big deal out of it.

Informal versus Formal.

And what is right and what is wrong.

When in fact everything about Learning is situational.

Not right or wrong – and not over-generalized.

But right or wrong for…the Situation…and the Learner. Each can be unique.

When Management Decides to Formalize Something

…be that a Process, a Procedure, a Tool or some Learning – they are (hopefully) following the dictates from their fiduciary responsibility – on behalf of the owners or shareholders – to make investments that are wise – to avoid Risks and/or achieve Rewards – which are sometimes/oftentimes two sides of the same coin.

Sometimes that means someone needs to curate some content. Other times it means they need to create some content.

Sometimes it means they need to do both – a blend.

If the content they can curate isn’t “authentic enough” for the specific performance situation and the specific learners – then it won’t work. they might learn something – but it won’t transfer.

And that what you want – the learning to transfer – to translate into Performance capability.

Or else – why bother?

Which is why you need to have done some Performance Analysis – before doing any curating – or creating – or a blend of the two.

And then you need to Pilot-Test that out – to make sure it works well enough.


When it’s worthwhile.

Otherwise – leave it informal.

Let the learner do their own curating.

Harold Stolovitch Video Interview

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