Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The future of informal learning?

Okay, some I've been playing a whole bunch of catch-up reading my learning/elearning blogs and during lunch today I read Donald Clark's Learning Circuit's post: Investing in Informal Learning. I have been struggling to get my hands around the concept of informal learning, but sometimes I think its like a greased pig: just as I think I have a handle on it, it slips away.

Anyway, what struck me as I was reading this was this paragraph:
Secondly, as Jay and others bring the auspice of informal learning to the attention of trainers, it seems to me that trainers will try to formalize even more informal learning. As this shift grows from formalizing the informal, will we see the percentage of investment in formal learning programs grow and the investment of informal learning shrink?
I suddenly had this nightmare vision of the training profession becoming a type of help desk with three levels of training support:
  1. The newbie trainers staffing the telephone lines to respond to "just-in-time" questions from people learning informally.
  2. Behind them are the more experienced trainers who, if the newbies can't resolve the caller's problem, take over the call.
  3. Finally above the experienced trainers are the SMEs who are the final arbiter of the issue.

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