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Informal Learning at Work
How to Boost Performance in Tough Times.
The engagement and performance capability of a workforce is critical to the survival and future success of any company and since most people learn informally (they set their own objectives and pull the information they need when they need it). It makes sense for companies to improve their informal learning environment by removing the blocks to learning; improving the learning culture so that employees are free to learn the way they like; and ensuring they find, use and share high quality, relevant information.
This book explains how companies can harness the power of informal learning and why they should, using practical advice from workplace learning experts and practical examples and case studies from around the world.
It shows how employees who are actively encouraged to learn informally are more engaged and motivated, which in turn means they are more productive. This has obvious benefits for organisations whose survival depends on their employees’ engagement and performance.
It also explains the barriers to informal learning and how they can be removed or overcome.
The book shows the ways in which Learning & Development, managers and line managers can support employees’ informal learning.
Finally, it reveals how informal learning can be tracked and evaluated by L&D and managers.
Unlike most previous books on informal learning, this book is not aimed at academics or learning theorists. It is aimed at those people who are actively involved in workplace learning and development and who want to improve their employees’ engagement and their company’s performance.
About the Author:
Paul’s life and work history can only be described as a little unusual. He grew up on a hill country farm in New Zealand and went on to study both Agriculture and Engineering at University. He graduated with first class honours and a couple of years later won a national farm machinery award for the design of a seed drill. The drills were exported by his employer to over 20 countries around the world. Years later, when he was travelling in Ecuador, he was amazed to see one of his seed drills up for sale in a second-hand farm machinery yard by the side of the road.
As many Kiwis do, he set off to see the world and travelled extensively, stopping along the way to earn money for the next adventure. He then landed what was to him a dream job, working for an adventure travel company leading overland expeditions into many remote areas of the world. All this experience, which lasted over four years, has given him some great stories to tell of far-flung places, from the Congo jungle to the Chinese Taklamakan desert. By the way, locals say the name means ‘go in and you will never come out’.
Paul then ‘got a real job’ as an engineer in the UK. It proved quite a challenge to make the transition from travelling the wild places on the planet and needing to build a campfire each night, to working regular hours and commuting. After some success, he was headhunted into a NASDAQ-quoted multi-national technology company, where he eventually held the role of Customer Services Director. It was during this time that he really started to appreciate the importance of learning, and was surprised that his adventures and the experience of observing people learn to cope with unfamiliar situations were so valuable in understanding learning. His curiosity led him into studying psychology, NLP and many other areas relating to how the mind works – knowledge which he could then translate back into the workplace.
The constraints of corporate life lost their appeal and Paul started his own company, People Alchemy Ltd, in 1999, working as a consultant, trainer and coach in the areas of management and leadership. Most of his clients were blue chip organisations and one client programme had over 1,200 delegates. He soon recognised the need for more direct performance support and the importance of informal learning in all its guises, rather than the common L&D reliance on classroom training. Paul has a way of engaging people with this changing paradigm so they can grasp it, incorporating it into their own organisational learning and capability strategies. His approach helps people to fully cater to the learning needs of their staff so they can get the job done.