Informal Learning

People have been learning ‘informally’ since the dawn of time. But the evolution of technology and a changing workplace has accelerated the need for L&D to embrace a less formal approach to training. 70:20:10 is a useful model but what’s the best way to support it in practice?

Informal learning is the powerhouse of learning in the workplace.

Attend any L&D conference or read any article or blog and it’s almost guaranteed to get a mention somewhere. Especially since the rise in prominence of the 70:20:10 model that gives organisations a framework to follow to get the balance of learning right for their people.

But how can informal learning really be implemented? To many minds, it is an activity that happens naturally that cannot be managed or measured. But the reality is that you CAN unlock its potential. And once you do this, you can use it to improve the performance of your people and increase the impact of L&D in your organisation.

Considerable time and effort is invested in formal training within organisations, but only around 10 – 30 per cent of what your people know comes as a result of these initiatives. The majority of what they learn happens informally on-the-job. When we talk about informal learning therefore, we are referring to that which takes place outside a class, seminar, workshop or formal self-study. It happens in context. It has meaning. Which makes it incredibly powerful.

Nurturing informal learning is not the sole responsibility of L&D or HR. It should be an implicit part of every manager’s job. The role of L&D is to help it happen easily and seamlessly within people’s workflow. But how do we achieve this? People Alchemy has been working for 15 years to make this happen.

At People Alchemy, we work with you to answer how informal learning can:

  • Work for your organisation
  • Be effectively ‘managed’
  • Be encouraged across your workforce
  • Be demonstrated and measured
  • Positively impact the role of L&D
  • Blend with formal training and other learning activities

“Informal and formal learning are the end points of a continuum. On one end, formal learning is like riding a bus: The driver decides where the bus is going, while the passengers are along for the ride. On the opposite end, informal learning is like riding a bike: the rider chooses the destination, the speed and the route.”

Jay Cross

Informal Learning

As you might have guessed, we believe passionately in the power of informal learning and are driven to support L&D through challenges and the opportunity it represents both for the profession, and your organisation. Now you can discover everything you need to know in this best-selling book from People Alchemy founder and managing director, Paul Matthews. It includes practical advice from workplace learning experts, and examples and case studies from around the world. The opportunity is yours for the taking!



Helpful Resources

Video: How can L&D leverage informal learning?

Paul Matthews looks at the importance of informal learning, its impact and how it can be harnessed by learning and development (L&D) functions to ensure that employees are doing the right things with the right support. He provides examples of how L&D functions can leverage informal learning.


Guide: Informal Learning

Informal learning is a hot topic, but what’s the best way to manage it and support 70:20:10? This guide is for L&D or HR professionals wishing to unlock the potential of informal learning and who are interested in making the 70:20:10 model work for their organisations, without killing what makes it so powerful!



Get new managers up to speed quickly with our pathway to proficiency. Alchemy Learning Pathway is a flexible SaaS solution that enables you to easily create customs learning journeys specific to your organisation.


Email us at [email protected] us or call +44 (0)1908 325 167 to find out how you can unlock the power of informal learning your organisation.