As an increasing number of organisations invest in L&D solutions, many are expanding their existing e-learning platforms by adding new and exciting compatible systems. For some organisations, this has consisted of adding a learning experience platform (LXP) to their existing learning management system (LMS). One of the many benefits of introducing LXPs into an L&D strategy is the ability to facilitate informal learning. In this blog, we’ll run through how you can empower your learners with informal learning with Totara Engage LXP, and how it complements the formal learning structure of the Totara Learn LMS.
What is Totara Engage?
Totara Engage is a powerful LXP designed with a learner-centric approach in mind. An LXP differs from an LMS as it places more focus on collaborative, user-driven and social learning. Totara Engage is a sophisticated platform with a broad range of features and functionality, designed to empower learners with content creation tools, curation functionality, and data-driven content recommendation tools.
What are the benefits of informal learning?
Informal learning through Totara Engage allows organisations to adopt a learner-centric approach, giving learners more freedom to explore learning autonomously and drive L&D based on their own interests and objectives. What’s more, informal learning doesn’t follow a rigid scheduling structure or strict lesson plans, meaning employees completing training or upskilling lessons can fit learning into the flow of work. The flexibility that comes with informal learning is hugely beneficial for employees with demanding schedules, as 49% of learners say they don’t have time to learn at work.
Informal learning has always been an essential way for employees to acquire and develop new skills, in fact, research has shown that it accounts for nearly 75% of the overall learning gained in the workplace. While much of this informal learning comes from peer-to-peer interaction and informal communication amongst staff, the shift to remote and hybrid working may result in a decrease in informal learning in the workplace. With this in mind, having an LXP like Totara Engage ensures that informal learning continues to be a key contributor to the growth and development of employees in a workplace environment – whether in an office or remote setting.
How does Totara Engage facilitate informal learning?
Formal learning structures are typically one way, with learners gaining information from materials and content created by L&D professionals. Contrastingly, informal learning facilitated by an LXP invites learners to create their own content and build up a diverse and dynamic library of user-generated content.
With Totara Engage, users can develop and share their skills by creating resources such as blogs, articles, videos, audio clips and webinars. Once created, these resources can be made public so that learners can share them with their peers and pass on their skills and knowledge.
Totara Engage’s informal learning approach places a great deal of emphasis on creating effective opportunities for social learning. Whether teams are operating remotely or face-to-face, areas such as Workspaces, forums and discussion boards facilitate real-time discussion and knowledge sharing amongst users. Workspaces in Totara Engage can be private or public, invite-only or open to everyone, allowing departments or classes/year groups to operate as a collective within a separate virtual learning environment.
When employees were asked about L&D opportunities, 32% said that training should be more social – collaboration spaces in Totara Engage allow users to learn and develop as a team, with opportunities to ask each other questions in real-time, creating a better sense of community and producing more effective learner outcomes.
While traditional teaching methods rely on one lecturer or educational professional to relay information to learners, informal learning via an LXP removes restrictions around who can and cannot share their knowledge. This is particularly beneficial for companies wanting their employees to impart their expert knowledge after years of employment. If a particular employee has been in a role for several years, using Totara Engage gives them the platform to share their expert knowledge with the rest of the company by developing their own content and making them a subject matter expert (SME).
With Totara Engage, learners can collate resources and create their own curated playlists. These playlists can be made public or private and are the most effective way of developing a library of content that is relevant to the interests and objectives of each user.
When made public, other users can benefit from working their way through a library of content that has been created by a fellow learner or SME. In doing this, not only will playlist creators feel empowered by the freedom of designing their own learning experiences, but users searching for content can simply find a relevant playlist and instantly find a selection that has been carefully curated with their specific criteria in mind – such as department, job role or interests.
Although informal learning provides learners with the freedom and flexibility to explore their own learning paths autonomously, data-driven features in Totara Engage allow organisations to further enhance the learning experience with content recommendations.
Unlike the more rigid structure of a personal development plan or learning plans, content recommendations with Totara Engage use data gathered across the platform to identify content that users are likely to enjoy and create a list of recommendations that can be accessed if and when users wish to. Recommendations are based on an individual basis and can be gathered by looking at previous interactions with other pieces of content.
Totara Engage can be further enhanced by integrating the platform with other powerful systems. A platform such as Microsoft Teams is a popular choice for organisations looking to facilitate informal learning, as it provides users with the opportunity to enter in real-time discussions via video conferencing tools or instant messaging. Totara Engage integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Teams so that employees can share and interact with e-learning content, along with receiving notifications about new content or learning materials that have been created and recommended to them.
Ready to harness the power of informal learning with Totara Engage?
Having read through just some of the features and functionality available in our powerful LXP, Totara Engage, perhaps you’d like to elevate your current L&D initiatives by incorporating a user-centric platform designed to empower learners and improve the efficiency of development opportunities. If so, find out more about our Totara Engage platform here or book a free demo with one of our Totara experts here.