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Workplace learning is a critical tool for both employees and organisations in their continuous adjustment to a growing number of global trends that are reshaping our workplaces, economies and societies.
Formal and Non-formal Learning
Over recent decades, there has been an increasing realisation that the workplace is an environment not only where learning new knowledge and skills can happen but where learning should be happening.
Formal workplace learning is defined as ‘learning that occurs in an organised and structured environment and is explicitly designated as learning (objectives, time or resources). Formal learning is intentional from the learners’ point of view and typically leads to certification.
Non-formal learning is defined as ‘learning embedded in planned activities not explicitly designated as learning (learning objectives, learning time or learning support)’. However, it refers to various structured and semi-structured learning activities and is understood to be intentional from the learner’s point of view; its outcomes may be validated and lead to certification.
Informal learning is defined as ‘learning resulting from daily activities related to work, family or leisure. It is not organised or structured, and, in most cases, it is unintentional from the learner’s perspective. This type of learning can also be validated and certified, although this is rarely the case.
Learning for the Company Performance and the Employee Wellbeing
Informal learning is a crucial aspect of workplaces in terms of company performance and employee wellbeing. Workers learn most when engaging in new and challenging activities in which they are granted sufficient autonomy to solve issues themselves or in collaboration with their colleagues or mentors.
Such findings call for more attention from policy-makers and organisations’ management to various forms of informal learning at the workplace. This is particularly the case when considering the apparent lack of beneficial effects of formal and non-formal learning on employee wellbeing and company performance. These findings illustrate the overwhelming prominence of informal learning at the workplace compared to formal and non-formal learning forms. Still, they also indicate the learning potential that exists at workplaces.
Analysis of the prevalence of various learning practices and different types of learning environment show that most companies are still not offering optimal learning environments and opportunities to their workers.
Such a situation hurts both employees and companies but presents an opportunity for action at organisational, national and international levels.
Such action will aim to create institutional conditions, legal frameworks, learning resources, and incentives for companies to start organising their workplaces in a way that will facilitate workspace learning. Especially its various informal forms.
Informal learning is the critical aspect of workplaces in terms of company performance, especially employee wellbeing. Workers learn most when engaging in new and challenging activities. They are granted a sufficient amount of autonomy to solve issues themselves or collaborate with their colleagues or mentors.
The text is from: Kankaraš, M. (2021). Workplace learning: determinants and consequences: insights from the 2019 European company survey. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Cedefop working paper; No 7. http://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2801/111971
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Lucubrate Magazine January 2022
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