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How do people really become skilled? And where and when does learning happen? If we are going to succeed in developing our people and our businesses, we need to think again about these questions. The classroom, whether real or virtual, is a formal environment. Yet as much as 75 percent of all learning is actually informal, perhaps even not consciously recognised, and arises through happy coincidence as much as anything.
Formal learning is a vital basis on which to build – but to become an expert, little can replace hands-on experience, learning from your mistakes and seeing how others approach the same tasks. Surely, as e-learning professionals, we want to be involved in helping learners to achieve as much as possible. So what can we do to bridge the gap?
In the enclosed article, Brian Sutton – as well as identifying this puzzle – offers practical advice. We need to change our perspective dramatically. Formal and informal learning can stimulate, and indeed simulate, one another. But this only happens if we create the right environment. We need to be architects, creating a space that people want to explore.