Informal learning in online classes is not really a new strategy. According to research, social learning makes up 75% of what employees learn in the workplace. We all know that social learning is just one of the many ways that informal learning can happen.
Any information that you learn inside an institution is formal learning. Everything else that you learn outside is called informal learning. The truth is, informal learning is how we generally learn since we were young. You know how you learn how to talk at home? That is mostly because of this type of learning. You observe those around you and make decisions as to whether you will adapt or not.
On its own, informal learning is already effective. But if you want to channel its benefits towards online classes, there are a couple of strategies and tips that you may want to implement.
Plan a specific strategy to engage
Informal learning is actually very personalized experience. Learners oftentimes choose when they want to learn, what they will absorb, and how it will be done. However, that does not mean you should not give them some guidance. You need to provide them with something that will keep them on track throughout the lesson. This is why there is a need for an engagement strategy. This does not take away the personalized feature of the lesson. But it will serve as a guide so learners can participate when it is needed. It forces them to stay updated and on track. Setting up rewards and connecting them with other learners should be a great strategy, to begin with. Make sure the platform you will use is accessible to keep the engagement easier to comply with.
Establish an open community
What does having an open community mean? It is a platform where learners have an open platform that will allow them to share and receive information from fellow learners. This is the core of informal learning. You want them to learn from each other. But by providing them with a platform, you get to control how the learning happens. Not only that, you can also guide them towards what you want them to discuss amongst themselves. The open community will provide the learners with a sense of being in control of the learning process while allowing you to keep the process within the learning goals.
Have an admin team dedicated to the course
If the learners are taking the lead in the learning process, does that mean the course does not need much input from the developers? That is not true. If anything, you need more input from everyone in the team. That being said, you need to make sure that everyone is on the same page at all times. That also requires dedication from every member of the team. Take note that the team can even extend beyond the developers. Even the organization or the management should be dedicated enough to the development and implementation of the course. They will be useful in identifying user-generated content.
Involve the upper management
If possible, get the highest of them involved. This will boost the reputation of the online classes among those who are trying to learn. They will also be more inclined to engage in the lesson if they know the course has the support of the management. It does not need a lot of effort – a short video message will do. This will reinforce whatever is being taught in the lesson.
Consider these tips to help make informal learning more successful in online classes. With all the benefits that you can get out of it, the learning experience will be significantly more memorable and effective.