In yesterday’s Stay Connect virtual webinar, my colleague Emily Wilson from SAP SuccessFactors Learning and I discussed why informal learning is CORE to the success of all learning programs.

Regardless of what learning management system your organization uses (we naturally prefer SAP SuccessFactors Learning) or what collaboration platform you use (we obviously prefer SAP Jam Collaboration), you have to remember to blend them together.

Blended learning, or a combination of formal and informal learning has many advantages including:

  • It drives a culture of employee engagement, where employees are actually encouraged to share information
  • It improves the economics of learning – as the costs to create and maintain learning content rise, you need to do everything you can to make what you have work better
  • It allows you to extend learning beyond the LMS – enabling employees to share and learn with each other

Employee engagement

Employee engagement is driven by employees – your people.  People are inherently social.  In some cases, learning can be made more effective when paired with social aspects.   Incorporating informal learning can help make your learning programs more effective.  Why?  The informal gives the employee a place to ask questions and seek information.   Employees should be encouraged to ask questions and employees (subject matter experts) company wide, not just instructors, should be encouraged to answer questions. By leveraging the collective knowledge in the company, employees across the organizational structure will then feel committed to the overall success of everyone.

Economics of learning

The costs of creating and maintaining learning content are always on the rise, while budgets are decreasing. The only option now is to do more with less and increasing the ROI of your existing content.   The first part of doing more with less is easily done by improving your content creation processes and workflows. Content creators need to leverage the collective knowledge throughout the organization to help you create and improve content.  Leverage student, alumni and subject matter expert feedback.  What resonates well?  What doesn’t?  Why do so many people have the same question on one slide?  When your content creation and updating workflow is done with collaboration, you have a place where everyone can contribute and where everyone is on the same page.

Extending learning beyond the LMS

How can you increase the overall ROI of your content?  By exposing your existing learning courses and content to new audiences – or better yet – to existing audiences that don’t even know it exists, your content is more useful and valuable. That’s what a blended learning solution allows you to do.  It exposes your learning courses to people outside of the LMS, to where they work.

Stay tuned for further discussions on the above topics and more as we explore how social collaboration can blend with formal learning programs to dramatically transform how “learning” works.

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