Informal and Social Learning in the Workplace: A Story

After getting helpful feedback on my plan to help employees develop personal learning plans, I created an example story. To encourage an exploration of multiple learning avenues (formal, informal and social), I wanted to ensure the story included examples of all three. Let me know how you think I did.

Jane wants to develop her project management skills to eventually take on a project lead role. In the past, she has been through university and enjoyed formal education. However, she has discovered that she learns best when she receives small pieces of information and gets to digest and practice what she learns regularly. This is how she learned to use [a software package].

Working with her performance manager, she creates a plan to develop the skills needed to take a project lead role for Q4 2013.  She knows that there are a collection of project management videos on Youtube that accompany a book she will purchase from Amazon. Also, the company has many experienced project leads who would be willing to help. She maps out where she will get her knowledge from and who she needs to support this process, so that she may practice her project lead skills.

With her performance manager, Jane creates specific measurable learning goals in a learning plan that supports her overall goal of being a competent project lead by Q4 2013. She will read one chapter of the book every two weeks and watch the accompanying Youtube videos.  In a blog or wiki she will document her key findings and reflections from each bi-weekly period. She will then ask a current project lead for an informal coffee to talk about her findings and add to her blog if useful.

Her performance manager has talked to the current project leads to ensure they will support Jane in her goal. Jane’s performance manager will also work with Jane to help create opportunities to apply the knowledge and skills she has learned in each bi-weekly period. They know that without the opportunity to apply what she has learned, Jane will quickly forget and her efforts will not feel worthwhile.

At the end of the process, Jane will host a lunch and learn to let everyone know what her goal was, how she accomplished it, and what key knowledge and skills she learned on the way. In Q4 she will take the lead on her first small project.