Clark Quinn has an interesting post for anyone who is interested in the role of blogs and wikis in instructional design about informal learning. The basis of his post notes that as learners gain experience in their trade they learn more from informal venues versus formalized training.
The key is to provide learners with centers of experience where they can research and find their information or ask questions of would-be mentors. The problem resides in where we do our jobs. If the learner is not located in the same room as the high-performer who can guide him/her. Then there is a problem and that is where instructional designers can come into play.
To quote Mr. Quinn:
The points being that we need a broader focus, and our instructional design has to be augmented with information design and information architecture. It’s about supporting performance, not just about courses.
As instructional designers we need to look beyond building a course. We need to promote the building of other support systems to assist the more experienced learner.