An important blow for informal learning at work?

We’ve discussed the 70-20-10-model before on this blog and in our book and the defenders of the model usually respond that you don’t need to take the percentages too literally and that the model puts an emphasis on the importance of informal learning.

But the latter may have received a bit of a blow this week by the results of a longitudinal study by the Dutch SCP. I didn’t got their study when it was released, but an article in Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant pointed me to the study this weekend.

This isn’t a small study, as 4500 respondents between 16 and 65 who are in a profession are being followed as long as a possible in this longitudinal approach.

What are the important conclusions regarding formal and informal learning:

  • Regarding the life long learning of less educated workers, informal learning doesn’t work.
  • Employees who receive less formal learning opportunities don’t compensate this by informal learning.
  • Actually: the people who do learn a lot in a formal way, are the same who learn a lot informal.


2 thoughts on “An important blow for informal learning at work?

  1. Lets start with the remark that the 70 of 70-20-10 isn’t talking about informal learning as described by for instance Marsick and Volpe. Then the report. It tells us that people who learn formally are also learning informally and that there is an important relation between thes two ways of learning. The most important aspect it does show is that you should npbr motivated to learn in benefitting from learning and that you should have learning skills for this. Could it be that most highly educated people have had better experience with formal learning then low educated people and are therefore more willing to learn formally and informally? It doesn’t say anything about the strength of informal learning as a form, just that it probably won’t contribute to the skills mentioned for people who are not motivated to learn.

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