Many people have a preference for learning in their own personal style, as opposed to learning in a more formal educational environment. This coincides with research that suggests that between 70 and 90% of what employees learn is informally acquired whilst on the job (Kim, Collins, Hagedorn, Williamson, & Chapman, 2004). This style of learning, often through conversations with peers, can end up being more useful than classroom teaching and training courses.
Why is this?
Firstly, we live in a time of burgeoning information and an ever-increasing rate of change. More data was created in 2009 than in the entire history of mankind through to 2008. Given this constant, unrelenting flow of ever-changing information, traditional training methods can lose their effectiveness. People are time-poor, and can resent time away from their day-to-day tasks – particularly if the training curriculum is not sufficiently up-to-date. Companies spend money on gathering, ordering and presenting information that’s often out of date before it’s published, and difficult for people to understand. Then there’s the problem of memory; as Herman Ebbinghaus discovered, most of what we learn today is simply gone by tomorrow.
Secondly, for many of us, being social and discussing new ideas and concepts is a much more satisfactory way to learn than individual research and analysis. Peter Casebow and Owen Ferguson of leadership development agency GoodPractice recently asked a group of business leaders about their learning style, and found that informal chats with colleagues was their most effective way to learn.
Finally, there’s what motivates us. Daniel Pink in his book Drive asserts that autonomy is a prime motivator. The ability to decide to learn what one feels important as opposed to learning what another believes one should learn, is a tremendously powerful source of motivation.
Cofacio helps enterprises move to a more effective method of learning. Its help engine brings employees together, empowering informal conversations and turning them into genuinely personal, needs-related discussions with a common goal. By amplifying informal learning through enabling people to help each other within a given corporate context, Cofacio enables enterprises to understand, appreciate and measure the effect of informal learning within their teams and across the business.
“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught” Winston Churchill.