When it comes to employee training, there’s a hidden ingredient that can make all the difference between a forgettable experience and a transformative one: the balance between formal and informal learning. In this blog post, we’ll explore the value of designing a training program that incorporates both formal and informal elements, and give you insights into how you can create the perfect blend for your organization.
Understanding Formal and Informal Training
Formal training is the structured, planned approach to learning that most of us are familiar with. It usually involves organized courses, workshops, and seminars led by designated instructors. Informal training, on the other hand, is the unstructured, spontaneous learning that occurs naturally in the workplace, such as when an experienced colleague shares their insights with a newcomer.
“Formal training sets the foundation, but informal learning is where the magic happens,” says one experienced L&D professional. “It’s the difference between being able to recite a recipe and actually cooking a delicious meal.”
The Benefits of a Blended Approach
A training program that incorporates both formal and informal elements can offer significant advantages over a one-size-fits-all approach. Here are three key reasons to consider a blended approach to training design:
- Increased engagement: Research shows that adult learners are more likely to be engaged and motivated when they can actively participate in their own learning. By incorporating informal learning opportunities into your training program, you can provide employees with the freedom to explore topics, ask questions, and collaborate with peers on their own terms.
- Better retention: Studies have found that people retain information better when they learn it in a variety of contexts and formats. Formal training provides the structure and consistency needed for learners to grasp new concepts, while informal learning helps to reinforce those concepts through real-world application and practice.
- Greater adaptability: A blended approach to training enables employees to move seamlessly between formal and informal learning experiences, ensuring they can adapt to the ever-changing needs of their roles and industries.
Creating the Perfect Blend
To develop a balanced training program, consider the following steps:
- Assess your organization’s needs: Start by evaluating the specific skill sets required for success in your industry and the unique challenges your employees face. This will help you determine the right blend of formal and informal training elements to address those needs.
- Design your formal training: Develop a comprehensive curriculum that covers the core competencies your employees need. This could include instructor-led workshops, e-learning courses, or on-demand resources.
- Integrate informal learning: Encourage an environment in which employees feel comfortable sharing their knowledge and experiences with one another. This could involve creating mentorship programs, hosting lunch-and-learn sessions, or setting up collaborative workspaces.
- Measure success: Regularly assess the effectiveness of your training program by analyzing employee performance, gathering feedback, and tracking skill development. Adjust your approach as needed to ensure ongoing success.
How Learnexus Can Help
At Learnexus, we understand the importance of a well-rounded training program that fosters both formal and informal learning. That’s why we’ve created a freelancer marketplace designed specifically for Learning & Development, helping managers like you quickly and easily find and hire professionals with the skills and experience needed to create the perfect training blend for your organization. With Learnexus, you can achieve a 47% cost saving while saving time and eliminating procurement issues with our single master services agreement. So why wait? Start crafting the ideal training program today with the help of Learnexus!
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