Readings on Informal Learning and Mentorship

Informal learning, and the role of the mentor in choice making.

What is Informal Learning?
Jay Cross at Informal Learning Blog
People acquire the skills they use at work informally — talking, observing others, trial-and-error, and simply working with people in the know. Formal training and workshops account for only 10% to 20% of what people learn at work. Most corporations over-invest in formal training while leaving the more natural, simple ways we learn to chance. Informal learning and formal learning are at opposite ends of the learning spectrum.

Coaching Informal Learning
Catherine Lombardozzi (Learning Journal blog)
Looking back over recent posts, it starts to become clearer to me what is needed for an informal learning strategy to be effective in the workplace. So far, here are some of the factors that I’ve identified as being needed (building on ideas from many other sources)…
  • Motivation for learning.
  • A culture that provides access to other people who support learning in a wide variety of ways
  • Easy access to materials that support learning
  • Skills in utilizing electronic tools to manage learning.

In preparing for an upcoming series of workshops, I think I’ve landed on another important ingredient… a learning coach. We can coach ourselves, of course, but many of us benefit greatly from having someone to support our learning.

The Open Dinosaur Project
was founded to involve scientists and the public alike in developing a comprehensive database of dinosaur limb bone measurements, to investigate questions of dinosaur function and evolution. We have three major goals:1) do good science; 2) do this science in the most open way possible; and 3) allow anyone who is interested to participate. And by anyone, we mean anyone! We do not care about your education, geographic location, age, or previous background with paleontology. The only requirement for joining us is that you share the goals of our project and are willing to help out in the efforts.