Informal Learning in the Workplace and the LMS

Informal Learning in the Workplace and the LMS


Joy Church Millard


Seventy percent of workplace learning is now done informally, reported Human Resource Development Review. Why then, are more organizations than ever implementing learning management systems? Within the next four years, MarketsandMarkets calculated, the global LMS market is expected to grow by $13.2 billion dollars!

True, LMS-based courses are generally considered formal learning. But LMS's are actually an excellent tool for facilitating and promoting a culture of learning across your enterprise. Let's discuss three ways you can use learning technology to support informal learning in the workplace.

1. Connect employees & drive collaboration

If positioned correctly, your LMS can become the hub for most informal learning activities. An LMS can sync up with HR systems, like ADP, to host a real-time organization chart or company directory. Employees can use these documents to find the right contact for questions and job support. Or they can use one of the LMS's many social collaboration tools, such as web conferencing, forums, chat rooms and instant messaging, to get feedback and best practices from peers or subject matter experts.

With more employees working outside of the office and global corporations opening satellite offices around the world, these LMS-based features allow employees to work remotely, yet still stay connected with their teams.

2. Reinforce new skills

An LMS can help employees master new skills that they learned informally. With personalized learning paths, workers can choose online courses, activities, assessments and certifications that reinforce their new skills. They can also go at their own pace and focus on the learning objectives that matter the most to them.

Having more control over their training is a top reason why today's workforce benefits from informal versus formal learning. An LMS gives them this flexibility, but ensures their activities are trackable and presenting the correct information.

3. Recognize & retain employees

Another way you can support informal learning in the workplace is by using the LMS as a forum to deliver employee recognition and encouragement. Peers and managers can post "shout outs" to workers who are doing a great job. Or, employees can add gamification rankings or badges that they've earned to their personal profiles.

Today's workforce needs to feel like they're making a difference at their jobs. So, by documenting informal learning successes in the LMS, and sharing them across your enterprise, you'll validate your employees' efforts and help retain these workers in a highly competitive global market.

A better way to track informal learning in the workplace

The more informal learning activities that are housed within the LMS, the easier it is to track and report on them. Which means you'll have more data to improve your learning programs, both formal and informal, and drive results.

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