Formal Learning: The Foundation for On-the-Job Training Programs

The 70-20-10 model for learning & development suggests that people get 70% of their knowledge from work experiences (on-the-job tasks), 20% from interactions with others (social), and 10% from formal learning events (structured training). There is argument about this model and the exact ratio, but it does beg the question of whether formal learning is still relevant in corporate environments?

The best teachers know that learning happens in layers. In the world of corporate enterprises, effective organizational training parallels this model of layered learning that includes both formal and informal methods.

Skilled teachers introduce new facts or skills that their students need to acquire, then create opportunities for the students to engage with the information in various modalities. They incorporate discussion, problem solving practice, and one-to-one coaching as needed. And finally, they assess what understanding or behavioral changes are occurring before moving on to build on the new knowledge.

There is wisdom in organizational training strategies utilizing the same paradigm that mixes various experiential modes of learning with formal training. Both are important for optimal staff competency outcomes.

Formal learning must be part of the equation of any holistic corporate training program. In fact, it forms the foundation on which other modes are based.

Formal learning can take various forms. It might be delivered through in-person classes with an instructor or virtual live workshops. Often, formal learning is provided in custom-designed e-learning modules. In any of these scenarios, trainees usually complete a short assessment after completing each step of the training before moving on to the next.

How Formal Learning Lays the Foundation for Layered Training

Formal learning provides consistency. Think of it like a rudder that keeps experiential or peer learning on track. Online courses define terms, create a common knowledge base, and lay out procedures everyone needs to know and follow.

Formal learning provides reference points. The learning management system, or LMS, can function as a library where documentation, transcripts, forms, tutorials, and videos can live for future lookups and refreshers.

Formal courses are ideal for orienting new talent. New hire onboarding needs to convey a baseline of knowledge about facilities, HR processes, regulations, and compliance requirements. In-person orientations are great, but e-learning courses provide more flexibility for new staff to fit training into their busy schedules as they get up to speed. These courses also can be used repeatedly without paying for an in-person trainer’s time again and again.

Formal learning outcomes are easily measured. Once you decide on your enterprise’s training goals, assessments to conclude each module can be customized to ensure that they provide data on how successfully your outcomes are being achieved.

Most enterprises understand the wisdom of layering their training methods. Each company must determine its own sweet spot for the ideal proportions of formal learning, on-the-job experience, and peer or mentored training. That analysis is something the e-learning experts at STREETCAR8 collaborate with clients on prior to the design of their customized e-learning programs.

We work with enterprise organizations to create training strategies and design courses that meet their needs. Share with us your goals and desired outcomes for training, and we will consult with you on building your optimal formal learning foundation.

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