Informal Learning – Outcomes, Evaluations and Organisational Value
January 17, 2013 2 Comments
There has been a significant rise in the amount of discussion of Informal learning over the last few years
in no small driven I think by things like the 70:20:10 concept. As I have spoken about in other posts while I don’t doubt that people learn informally in the workplace, exactly how effective that learning is and how competent staff are as a result of it worries me. One of the things that worries me is that we seem to have accepted notions like 70:2010 without having any firm evidence to back them up. This seems to be the case with most informal learning work as well, we talk about it a lot and it sits well intuitively with everyone but I struggle to find something, some metrics or measurements that are strong enough to be able to convince the rest of the table (particularly the finance people) that there is real organisational value in informal learning.
One of the issues for me is how do we measure the effectiveness of informal learning, how do we measure how effective it is in producing competence in staff and how do we validate that competence so we as an organisation can point to a staff member and say with some degree of certainty ‘This person is competent’. The reason this occupies so much of my thinking is the issue of competence. We need as an organisation to be able, sometimes under legal proceedings that staff in particular areas were competent to carry out their activities and that they had undertaken sufficient professional development to maintain said competence.
This is difficult to achieve in my opinion with informal learning, without having to add an additional layer of assessment and validation on top of any kind of informal learning activities, which to my mind just make them formal learning anyway.
I would value everyone’s thoughts or ideas.