Are you spending the bulk of your employee training resources building courses? If so, it’s time to rethink your strategy.

Informal learning includes situations where the learner determines some or all combinations of the process, location, purpose, and content and may or may not even be aware that instruction has occurred. Studies show informal learning as a proportion of all workplace learning at more than 50% to 80%, and research shows that many workers say that informal workplace learning is far more important to them than workplace training programs.

It’s of vital important that companies support informal learning. Supporting informal learning requires assuming new roles, including managing organizational knowledge and coaching. Managers of training and development functions need to make strategic decisions about the direction that their department will take in regards to informal learning and to how they will help their people gain the needed skills to support it. In this report, author Patti Shank examines informal workplace learning, and offers guidance on how companies can make it work for them.