February 22, 2007

Improving Informal Learning

Here is a great list by Ray Sims on how to improve informal learning.

Here are the first 10 of 25...
  1. Make collaboration easy. Employ the usual technology suspects such as discussionboards, wiki, web-conferencing solutions, IM, VOIP, etc. Facilitate physical meet-ups through architectural design and orchestrated face-to-face events. Support and encourage communities of practice and other community constructs. Identify and address roadblocks via organizational network analysis and other means.
  2. Teach critical thinking and “web / learning 2.0″ skills
  3. Help employees discover and refine their own personal learning environment
  4. Include desired learning behaviors in talent and performance management frameworks, programs and systems
  5. Improve content findability. Obsessive attention to enterprise federated search, cross-linking, social tagging, content reuse strategies, etc.
  6. Provide electronic performance support
  7. Improve people findability. Both expertise location applications and other means.
  8. Make outside connections easy. Funding for information and research services, conference attendance, guest speakers at company events, etc. A liberal blog policy and encouragement to blog
  9. For every new piece of formal learning, explore complementary informal learning opportunities — explicitly driving this exploration through process
  10. For every new piece of formal learning, answer: What can we do to increase the likelihood and depth of immediate practice in a safe environment; ideally where failure is not only expected, but created
It would be a great next step to take the entire list and create specific how-tos. I think I will when I get a chance. Check out the entire list.


  1. Lee,

    Your list of tips to improve informal learning caught my eye, as it melds my personal and private life together. You see, my wife is an educator and I work in the conferencing industry. Your first tip, in particular, struck me as an obvious point. But upon further discussion with my wife, it’s a challenge for many educators.

    Working for InterCall, I can shine a light on those who may be in the dark about “making collaboration easy”. Our web conferencing service makes group collaboration easy. We offer educators and corporate trainers a user-friendly and cost-effective tool for duplicating the interactive classroom experience.

    I hope your readers see how easy collaboration can be when they’re given tools like an online highlighter to make annotations or a whiteboard to write notes. Or they can simplify their appointment scheduling by syncing their scheduled classroom sessions with an integrated Outlook calendar. All these tools are at your fingertips with a web conferencing provider like InterCall.

    Many of our customers use our TrainingCenter for extended learning classrooms and corporate training sessions. You can sign up for a free trial by clicking this link: www.intercall.com/email/icfreetry.htm

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