Employee Based lms

5 Reasons You Should Promote Informal Learning with Your LMS

by Debbie Williams

At least 80 percent of learning in the workplace is received informally.1 With this statistic in mind, leaders can design effective corporate learning programs, leaving irrelevant, outdated learning models behind. Informal learning results in highly skilled, productive, satisfied employees.


Informal Learning is ‘Caught’, Not ‘Taught’

Informal or social learning is what its name implies: learning that happens in an unstructured, casual, social manner. It is learning that is ‘caught’ as opposed to ‘taught.’ Imagine, for example, a traveler who learns a foreign language by being immersed in a new culture, not by going to a 3-month intensive language school. The formal approach to learning a language would have had a degree of effectiveness, but perhaps not as much as the informal, organic approach. The same principle applies to corporate learning programs.

A well-rounded corporate learning program should include elements of organized learning, and if optimal results are desired, company decision makers should also stress social learning.  

5 Reasons to Make Corporate Training More Informal

Research shows that most on-the-job learning takes place naturally, in the flow of work.2 Besides the fact that social learning comes easily for most employees, there are several reasons why corporate leaders should promote this learning in the workplace and integrate it into employee training.

Informal learning has a variety of benefits:

  1. Fewer rules than traditional learning and more fun and engaging.
  2. Promotes collaboration between peers.
  3. More fulfilling for learners. A contributor explained, “As adult learners, we want autonomy and control. With informal learning, we are in full control of what we are exploring and learning.”3
  4. Boosts drive and focus for some learners since it is learner-controlled. To those who are motivated by self-paced learning, this can be a huge incentive.
  5. Facilitates knowledge retention when spaced out. Not all learners will space their learning experiences, but some will. Those who do will retain information more effectively.4 Informal learning gives them the opportunity to learn at a speed that best suits them.

A Social LMS Meets the Needs of Learners and Employers  

For the most part, employees learn best when they learn socially. Why is it, then, that leaders often design corporate learning programs that are almost entirely structured? This is the question informal learning expert Jay Cross asked in his blog article The Rise of Informal Learning 5 He explained that most company leaders want to heavily control training, and “that’s not how informal learning works.” The solution to the issue of wanting to deliver effectual training (i.e., informal training) while maintaining some control over employee learning experiences is to offer training via a social learning management system (LMS).

Promote Informal Learning with an LMS

Formal learning is not the enemy. It can be effective in the workplace if given with hefty portions of social learning. An LMS is designed to deliver informal learning in structured ways, and measure the outcomes of the learning experiences. For example, an effective LMS platform facilitates:

  • Mentorships through video conferencing and real-time chat.
  • Team building through administrator-controlled social media platforms and group communities.
  • Peer-to-peer connection through blogs and user profiles.

Read more about how to promote informal learning with an eLearning system in our blog article Encourage Informal Learning with an LMS.




  1. Cross, Jay. The rise of informal learning in the workplace. https://elearningindustry.com/rise-of-informal-learning. October 20, 2015.
  1. 70 20 10 Institute. Informal learning is more important than formal learning. https://702010institute.com/informal-learning-important-formal-learning-moving-forward-702010/. October 3, 2016.
  1. Pandey, Asha. 8 Benefits of informal learning in the workplace. https://elearningindustry.com/informal-learning-in-the-workplace-8-benefits. September 12, 2017.
  1. Kang, Sean H.K. Spaced repetition promotes efficient and effective learning: policy implications for instruction. https://www.dartmouth.edu/~cogedlab/pubs/Kang(2016,PIBBS).pdf.
  1. Cross, Jay. The rise of informal learning in the workplace. https://elearningindustry.com/rise-of-informal-learning. October 20, 2015.
Debbie Williams

Debbie Williams

Director, Marketing