Did you know that corporate employees learn five times more from using their own sources as opposed to formal training? Informal learning is being widely practiced by our employees and it’s helping them to perform better in their roles. Still, to ensure they’re accessing information that complements your training, supporting your learners informally is a smart move.
There are ways beyond formal training sessions to support your learners in their jobs and to help them become more productive. We’ve developed a list of five ways you can support your learners with informal training opportunities.
1) Provide mobile training materials.
If you give your employees access to their training materials via mobile, you are giving them more opportunities to problem solve. Learners are using their phones on average nine times a day to perform work-related searches. Wouldn’t it make more sense to give them access to the source? According to a recent survey by XanEdu, 94% of learners want digital and mobile access to their training materials, and only about half have it. Additionally, 91% of smartphone users employ their devices to complete tasks.
2) Create a shared virtual “library”.
This is a fun idea that you can promote to your team or teams to participate in. Create a shared folder (via Dropbox, or whatever your preference) to contribute links to videos, articles, podcasts, blog posts and anything you find useful, and encourage your employees to do the same. This will become a valuable resource over time that employees can go to when they need some inspiration.
3) Sharing is caring.
We had to bring out the cheesy cliché for this one, but it’s true! Share, share, share with your employees. Share powerful quotes or messages, share company news and updates, and share with them any intellectual property you have necessary to support them in their roles. That’s what being a leader is all about, and mentorship is a powerful way to informally train your employees. They will learn by watching and doing.
4) Provide the instant gratification your employees want.
We talk about instant gratification all the time, and that’s mostly because it is a powerful expectation of the modern learner. In a world where we use mobile devices for way more than just phone calls, we have all come to expect instant answers to problems we experience. This same searchability should be apparent in training materials, to maximum their use. When an employee can simply search a problem they’re experiencing in their training materials, they will find the solution much quicker.
5) Promote a culture of collaboration.
Just like mentorships, peer collaboration is a great way to learn informally. Brainstorming collaboratively helps encourage friendly competition and debate, which is where great ideas are born. Learning that doesn’t feel like work is a sure-fire way to improve, and collaboration certainly helps that happen.
Supporting your employees is important throughout the entirety of their employment and isn’t something that ends when formal training does. Providing the right amount of informal learning opportunities is a way to keep up with your employees and the pace at which they learn.