Posts Tagged ‘informal workplace learning’

Storytelling Skills Enhance Workplace Learning

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

The majority of knowledge that workers need to perform their jobs is gained informally, usually by swapping stories with co-workers in the lunch room or around the coffee pot. That’s when co-workers can compare notes on what’s worked and hasn’t worked, and  share a new technique or process that occurred to someone while performing the job. Studies have demonstrated that fully 70 percent of essential job knowledge is gained informally, with only 30 percent learned in formal classroom trainings or through one-on-one mentoring.

Recognizing that informal learning involves story swaps, many leading organizations have structured a learning system based on teaching storytelling skills. Sharing experiential stories among and between work teams and departments is a highly effective way to help workers transfer knowledge effectively–in a way that’s easily understood and remembered.

Even so, according to the American Society for Training & Development, many organizations still do not have ways to assess whether learning has taken place; neither do they systematically support the actual implementation of new skills and knowledge on the job.

To ensure that “transfer of learning” takes place, organizations need to develop a learning transfer plan, institute tools and processes to reinforce the skills and knowledge relayed in training, and adopt a means of measuring whether the skills and knowledge are being used on the job. As with any company-wide effort, full management support and involvement is required at every level of the organization in order for the training system to “take”.