Over the past year we have been publishing extracts from The New Learning Architect. We continue with the fifth part of chapter 11:
Having identified the situations in which a formal approach is necessary, your next task is to decide how non-formal interventions can contribute to meeting the remaining needs in question or to support formal learning.
Non-formal solutions are likely to be appropriate when:
- on-going efforts need to be made to ensure that the skills and knowledge that employees gain through formal training are successfully transferred to effective job performance;
- there is no requirement for the learning in question to be formally assessed;
- on-demand learning is not enough, i.e. when aided performance would damage credibility or when smooth and speedy performance is a priority;
- the employees in question need to be kept up-to-date with on-going developments in their fields of expertise or prepared for a business change.
Top-down approaches to non-formal learning, such as on-job training, coaching, mini-workshops, rapid e-learning, white papers, podcasts, webinars, internal conferences and online video, are likely to be the most appropriate when:
- the knowledge and skills in question are important and/or used regularly;
- the employees in question are less experienced and/or less independent as learners.
Bottom-up approaches to non-formal learning, such as the use of communities of practice, open learning and continuing professional development, will work well when the employees in question:
- have little commonality in terms of their needs;
- are motivated to learn and develop;
- have more job experience;
- are more independent learners;
- have some discretion over the way their time is allocated (or can be allocated time specially to engage in these activities);
- have access to the necessary communication channels, e.g. internet access.
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