One of the first presentations I sat in on at ASTD-ICE 2014 was on Maximizing Informal Learning’s Impact: A New Approach to Instruction Design given by Michael Leimbach. I attended the presentation because informal learning is a huge interest of mine. Here is a PDF of his presentation.
The purpose of the presentation was to provide insight on how to leverage the value of formal and informal learning. Leimbach discussed his research regarding informal and formal learning. Basically, the value of learning is what you actually use after your learn it. Leimbach added we learn best from experience but we are not very good at it.
Leimbach then dove into the myths about informal learning. The first focused on the 70-20-10 rule. He pointed out that research does not support that 70-20-10 is best practice. As he added, the 70-20-10 rule is a descriptive model on a prescriptive model.
Engaging in Informal Learning is a common practice, not a best practice. ~ Michael Leimbach
Leimbach emphasized that there is no value to focus on formal vs informal learning. It is all just learning. It is not about how much individuals learn but it is how much they use.
Leimbach listed a set of learning activities, and arranged them from structured to unstructured. Taking these same activities, he tied them to specific vs unspecific learning objectives. This resulted in a matrix that focused on four areas: guided experience, designed experience, incidental learning, and search learning. Leimbach believes all of these areas are essential to the learning environment. He recommended focusing on these three ways of incorporating these four areas into learning:
- Taking a learner-centric approach to instructional design.
- Thinking about the flow of learning methods.
- Creating conditions by which people value and engage in learning.
Leimbach advocates for informal and incidental learning, and encourages leaders to create the conditions for continuous learning.
I thought this was a good session but it was more theoretical than I desired. Still, the presentation offered a number of important lessons.