How to Measure Informal Learning
We know the practices to measure formal learning, but what about measuring and evaluating informal learning?
Formal learning is often sequential, linear, or compliance training delivered in the classroom, the virtual classroom or web-based eLearning. We use an LMS to schedule and track completions.
But what about informal learning? I define informal learning as everything else, which includes micro-learning, performance support, social, peer to peer, and even learning through a handheld or mobile device.
Then there are blended approaches. Is a MOOC formal or informal learning? Is gamification formal or informal learning? They are methods that can be used in both.
Whether your using a blended or informal approach, here are a few guidelines when measuring learning:
1. Categorize your learning.
2. Outline the questions you want answered:
- What is the impact of the learning? You have to break this question down into smaller, bite-size questions.
- Who is using it?
- What is being shared?
- What is the learning contributing?
- How is the learning applied on the job?
- What are the performance, promotion and retention goals?
3. Choose an informal learning strategy or program to evaluate.
4. Decide what tools you can use to collect data.
5. Plan for setbacks and having to choose another program to evaluate and provide the right data.
6. After reviewing the data, map the insights back your initial questions. Did you get the appropriate answers?
7. Use the intelligence gathered to improve your informal learning programs.