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The importance of informal learning in corporate training.

We speak more and more in our days of lifelong learning,  to underline how the individual learning path of each of us affects the entire process of our life and is realized not only within the formal structures responsible for education and training proper, but also and above all in the most diverse environments, work, family, friendship, free time, in which our action-relationship takes place, daily interaction-collaboration with our fellow men and in the most disparate sectors.
Not coincidentally, an aspect that affects the world of corporate training closely today is the great importance that has been found in the training process in what we can define infomal learning, alongside and together with the structured or formal training proper.


By informal learning we mean a category of learning which includes both that targeted that the incidental and occurs largely, outside the classroom, in institutional contexts, in which the process can be encouraged and promoted. Interesting forms of Informal learning however, they can arise spontaneously and extemporaneously, and can also be observed in unfavorable contexts where this form of learning is not institutionally promoted and supported.

The informal learning mode, from another point of view, is of great importance for acquisitions a long term, being one of the oldest forms of learning in our individual experience, maintaining a vital function since our earliest childhood, and continuing to exist, in the most disparate, supported and promoted, or unforeseen and favored, forms in all environments social and entrepreneurial important things we encounter in our next life.

If we look closely at corporate training processes, it can be useful to note that a particularly interesting model, known as 70:20:10 (Morgan McCall, Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger), indicates how the essential training acquisitions in the business environment must be divided into three essential categories:

70% - informal learning process, which takes place in the workplace, based on the experience and sharing of individual knowledge, objectives, methods and intuitions found in the work group;


20% - (informal) learning process through coaching and mentoring, developed through direct collaboration with other colleagues;


10% - learning process through formal training interventions and structured courses.

Within these categories, the first two items basically represent nothing more than methodologies informal acquisition, which end up covering 90% of the training system itself successfully adopted by established and growing companies. Informal communication, coaching, mentoring, proximity relationship and cooperation are the essential vehicles of informal training.

It has been carefully observed as the companies that have used them Learning Management System this model has achieved significant success in improving processes, in business efficiency and in productivity.

The structured training process would remain relegated and limited to the classroom or to the specific moment of the online study if it were not accompanied by theinformal learning, which allows you to make continuous the training process, in full conscious awareness of the acquisitions made. L'informal learning it develops and spreads through a continuous circular exchange of information, skills, ideas, intuitions that take place in the work itself, in coffee breaks, in meeting meetings and in the most disparate forms of interaction and communication between the members involved, and so on.


To better understand the communication and learning the value and potential of the universe informal, it may be useful to reflect on the complexity of our own language, essential vehicle of educational processes. It is based on two essential complementary elements, linguistic and prelinguistic, addressed the first to content of communications, and the second to the very important and informal function of communication itself, which is the construction of the relationship between individuals who decide to establish a communication between them.

If we considered the discovery of fire as the date of entry of hominids in the properly human world, it dates back to a period of one and a half million years ago. The construction of a language properly so called is extremely more recent, and dates back roughly to a period that goes from one hundred thousand years ago (birth of language) to forty thousand years ago (realization of a complete language). We must think of our period of very long coexistence in primitive communities without the possibility of using that extraordinary tool which was then language for man, where continuous interaction was regulated by preverbal forms of communication, certainly rudimentary, but not without of their effectiveness.

This makes it clear how extremely rich our language is, alongside the verbal content, of a whole series of preverbal and paraverbal elements, linked to tone, gaze, facial expression and all body language, which produce the overall result and complex.

The enormity of the verbal content, in this extraordinary construction which is language, whose origins remain mysterious in many respects, can be given by the observation of how an extremely poor language structurally and syntactically like English, is also the language of Shakespeare. That is, if we consider the high emotional and cognitive resonance of the human reality of the great poet, we must recognize that even with a structurally limited language can be achieved extraordinary results and unrivaled in terms of communication, knowledge, poetry.

But this nothing limits in the other great universe of communication, which is essentially informal and emotional, Where skilled players can express with their whole corporeality the other party of communication, which is pre-verbal and has a huge meaning parallel and complementary. It expresses the relationship between how people communicate. It can be said to a colleague: 'you're cute!' and get a positive effect in the report. But you can make the same claim in a sarcastic way and then the meaning of the message is totally upside down, although the content of the communication remains perfectly intact.

The report in the communication of essential importance that directly affects the verbal message of direct way. The report can be healthy and effective when it focuses on the objectives, needs and welfare of both people involved or the entire group interaction when to act and communicate is a group, or 'sick' and ineffective when prevail individual interests over those of the couple or the group itself.

In parallel, in training, whether classroom, online or in mixed form, structured training essentially works on content, Given the extreme importance of taking the new content that you need in your daily work for the growth and the continued progress which can be observed and of which you are part, or the change of fields of view when we dedicate ourselves to new types work, but it is the team, the teamwork that takes place and develops informal training.

It is the effective group that produces and builds the mode of interaction between the people involved, generates and governs its own specific relational system. In the group each introduces its own elements, acquires new ones, developing a continuous exchange process that allows the work and the continuous growth of the group and of the people who compose it.

The relationship can also be healthy and effective or 'sick' and ineffective in the construction of products or services, in other words in pursuing pre-established objectives. It is healthy and effective in companies that know how to build and spread a culture based on the choral action, on sharing of knowledge, To pursue the skills and objectives. And this is the natural habitat in which it develops the line 'informal learning. If on one hand it has a spontaneous growth mode and impromptu, on the other hand is different and anything but random design and construction of suitable habitats in which informal find the space it deserves.

Il team building It born and develops when we are able to recognize, in an atmosphere of mutual solidarity, which has great importance for the group continuous sharing of knowledge, skills, objectives, methodologies and ideas. The exchange of ideas, the continuous comparison with others, the dissemination of insights that from individual heritage become collective heritage, are the essential letters of the healthy informal alphabet, and produce wealth for the group. From this alphabet, the interacting group constructs its own discourse.

Sharing ideas allows you to achieve complex objectives, From the moment that the group, when it is the bearer of this relational methodology, ceases to be a sum of the parts that compose it, and becomes complex system in growth and continuous interaction. The word idea comes from the Greek etymology idein which means see. A group that produces ideas and spreads them has its own way of seeing the world or the problems it faces day by day at work and learns to solve them as its raison d'etre. From the same root word born the concept and the term identity. Our deepest identity contains within it the way we see the world around us and the others and ourselves; our relationship with the world and with other people is established on it. Our being a person is based on the identity that we know how to build. An effective group has its own identity and establishes its own around it relationship with the world. Our group will be based on the identity of that group knows engage in a process of continuous growth.

Formal learning is the constant need of all growing companies in the complex world of our time that proposes complex relationship systems in continuous transformation and evolution. In full similarity with what happens for the individual, itself a complex system, the relationship that the company must maintain in a stable way and in such a way as to be able to produce continuous growth, takes place on three levels: internal relationship (the company must knowing how to build and produce continuous and effective growth systems for the members that compose it, generating well-being and progress), external relationship (the company is in continuous complex relationship with the market of which it is an active part), and relationship with its peers (the company must maintain a complex process of observation and interchange with other companies that may be partners or competitors).

But formal learning, as we saw in model 70:20:10, covers a limited area of ​​the process activated by Learning Management System. We can consider formal learning as the trigger of the flames that they find as fuel and comburent in the other form of learning, theinformal learning, which, although it is still spoken of limitedly and indirectly, constitutes an essential part of the training process in which it instead has a driving role of pre-eminent importance.

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