Digital technology and the rise of new informal learning methods | 1/1/2019 | Staff
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Consulting a YouTube tutorial or an online dictionary, improving English skills using a dedicated application while taking public transportation, etc. To develop their skills, professionals are increasingly turning to these informal digital learning methods. This is illustrated by two studies conducted by the HRM Digital Lab at Institut Mines-Télécom Business School, on a representative sample of 1,000 French employees.

According to the study carried out by Kantar TNS in 2016, just over one in two employees had used informal digital learning to develop their professional skills. A second study carried out by OpinionWay in 2018 showed that this figure now applies to 60% of the workforce.

Nothing - Employees - Basis - Colleagues - Manager

There is nothing new about employees learning independently on a daily basis, whether through observing their colleagues or manager, reading trade publications, talking to their peers, etc. This set of learning behaviors was first studied and formalized starting in the 1950s, building on work by Knowles, who is considered to be the father of andragogy.

Composed of the ancient Greek words andros (ἀνδρὀς), meaning "man" (in the sense of a mature man, and by extension an adult human being, not a gendered term), and agogos (ἀγωγός), meaning "guide," this term refers to knowledge acquisition in adulthood.

1960s - Bandura - Phenomena - Imitation - Individuals

In the 1960s, Bandura explored the phenomena of imitation, whereby individuals learn by observing or listening to others, considered to be "models" or "occasional teachers." Then, in 1996, three researchers, Morgan McCall, Robert W. Eichinger and Michael M. Lombardo, from the Center for Creative Leadership (in North Carolina, US) demonstrated, based on a study of 200 executives, that individuals learn in a variety of ways throughout their lives.

In this study, traditional (off-the-job learning) and formal (meaning official/certification training programs) learning situations represent only 10% of learning time, compared to 90% for informal learning time, which is more instantaneous and disorganized.


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