6 Tips To Use Your LMS For Informal Learning
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How To Use Your LMS For Informal Learning

Informal learning is often confused with social learning. However, there are distinct differences, which makes it all-the-more challenging to find a Learning Management System. While many Learning Management Systems feature social integration tools, only a select few cater to informal learning design. Thankfully, with some creativity and resourcefulness you can make your LMS work for you and your corporate learners. Here are 6 helpful tips for using LMS solutions to provide informal learning experiences.

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1. Harness The Power Of Social Learning

Many LMS platforms now feature social media integration tools. Thus, you have the power to create social networking groups and pages that facilitate online collaboration. Social networking sites are one of the most versatile informal learning resources. They give corporate learners the power to connect with peers, share tips and links, and reach out to experienced professionals. For example, joining a Facebook group or contacting LinkedIn members who share a common interest. You can also integrate social media into your online training curriculum, such as posting a prompt and asking corporate learners to leave comments. What begins as a formal learning activity becomes a lively, informal conversation. Just be sure to develop guidelines to keep the online discussion on-topic and quickly resolve conflicts. Otherwise, you may end up sparking controversy rather than an interesting debate.

2. Corporate Learner Reported  Online Training Activities

Informal learning often takes place outside of the online training environment. So, how can you use your LMS to keep track of corporate learners' progress? The answer is allowing learner-reported online training activities. Corporate learners have the opportunity to create a profile and then add online training activities as they complete them. For example, creating a blog post or participating in an online forum. Here are a few of the pertinent details that corporate learners should report:

  • The nature of the online training activity and when it was performed
  • A brief description of what they learned and the benefits they received
  • Whether they successfully completed the online training activity or if it is still in-progress
  • An explanation of how the online training activity will help them achieve their learning goals

The information can be uploaded to the LMS, which monitors corporate learner progress and automatically syncs when they login to the LMS. To enhance motivation, give corporate learners the opportunity to earn badges or points by completing external online training activities.

3. Facilitate Collaborative Learning Experiences

There is a myriad of Learning Management Systems that support social collaboration tools, such as web conferencing software and Project Management online platforms. These features allow corporate learners to work remotely with their peers and share feedback. They can also send instant messages, upload documents, and address common concerns to form a supportive online learning community. Better still, all of these interactions are facilitated and track through the LMS platform. Thus, you’re able to monitor their progress and assign supplemental online training coursework when necessary. To get the ball rolling, encourage corporate learners to split into groups and work on a collaborative online project, such as creating a subject matter blog. After this initial assignment, social and informal learning are going to happen spontaneously.

4. LMS Feedback Tools

LMS feedback tools may not provide direct informal learning, as they are used to gain online training course insights. However, you can use them to improve your informal learning strategy so that corporate learners get more from the online training experience. For example, you may discover that a majority of your corporate learners aren’t participating in online discussions. As such, you can create online assignments based around these LMS platforms to fuel engagement and emphasize their online training benefits. LMS analytics and reports also shed light on how your corporate learners are progressing and their preferences, so that you’re able to refine your approach.

For instance, if most of your corporate learners are using a specific LMS platform you might consider redirecting your efforts. Evaluate your current LMS to see if it offers informal learning analytics. If not, you may want to think about searching for a solution that provides the online feedback you need. For instance, a Learning Management System that monitors corporate learner traffic and social media usage.

5. Moment Of Need Online Training Support

Impromptu online training resources provide valuable informal learning experiences. Many Learning Management Systems feature responsive design tools, which allow you to create mobile-friendly online training content. Corporate learners can access the information they need, when they need it, by using their smartphones or tablets. For example, an employee is able to explore a task by participating in an online training simulation or branching scenario. To make the online training content more accessible, create a link list that features all online training modules or activities. Divide it into specific categories that corporate learners require on a daily basis, such as customer service or product knowledge online training. Include a brief description for each online resource so that corporate learners are aware of the benefits and key takeaways.

6. Personalized Learning Paths

Informal learning can also occur without even leaving the LMS. Though it may be more structured, personalized learning paths offer the best of both worlds. Corporate learners have the power to choose which online training activities they'll complete and when, based on their specific needs. You can accomplish this by uploading a variety of different online training modules, activities, assessments, and multimedia content to your LMS. Create a clickable catalog or online training course map that features all of these online resources, then let corporate learners choose their own path. This puts them in complete control over their online training experience. They can go at their own pace and focus on learning objectives that matter most to them. You might say it's a perfect blend of formal, informal, and asynchronous learning.

As a general rule, the best approach involves a blend of formal, informal, and social learning. Thus, it's important to find a tool that's up for the task and offers flexible LMS features. You should also consider the needs and preferences of your corporate learners to choose the perfect approach. In addition, you can get an LMS quote tailored to your needs in as little as 3 minutes. This simple 5-step process will help you find the Learning Management System that works best for you.

Can you tell the difference between social and informal learning? Read the article Social Learning Vs Informal Learning: Can You Tell The Difference? in which compares and contrasts these two strategies, and offers tips for using both in your eLearning course design.

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