Corporate Education vs. Corporate Training: The Advantages of an Informal Learning Culture in the Workplace

Nataša Mlađenović
Nataša Mlađenović
Oct 17, 20228 minute read

What comes to mind when you hear "corporate training"?

If you're an employee, then that phrase probably isn't evoking the most positive of images in your mind.

You might be thinking of mandatory seminars that are more yawn-inducing than educational.

Corporate Education vs. Corporate Training

Or, you might be thinking of long days spent in a classroom-style setting, learning things that you'll never use in your day-to-day job.

But what if there was a way to make learning more... palatable? More fun, even?

Enter Corporate Education

Corporate education is the new hotness in the world of employee development. It's a way of providing learning opportunities that are more engaging and interactive than traditional methods.

While corporate training is typically focused on teaching specific skills or knowledge that an employee needs in order to do their job, corporate education takes a more holistic approach.

It's about providing employees with the opportunity to learn new things that will help them grow both professionally and personally.

It's not just about improving job performance - it's about helping employees develop into well-rounded, knowledgeable individuals.

The Dread Called Corporate Training

Unfortunately, a lot of companies still operate under the belief that the best way to get employees to learn something is to beat it into their heads with a heavy hand.

What they don't realize is that this approach is not only ineffective, but it's also counter-productive.

When learning is forced, it's often resisted. And when employees are resistant to learning, they're less likely to retain the information and more likely to tune out altogether.

Even research shows that if employees are not motivated to learn something, the chances of them actually retaining the information are slim to none.

When Learning Happens Spontaneously

While corporate education is a complex term and covers a wide range of learning techniques, in this article we'd like to focus on the art of sharing knowledge via informal learning.

You would be surprised how much you can teach someone about a topic they had no interest in if you do it subtly.

And no, we're not advocating for underhandedness here. We're simply suggesting that there are ways to make learning more palatable for employees, ways that don't involve boardrooms or PowerPoint.

For example, let's say you are a project manager in the IT sector and would like to teach your team about the basics of Scrum.

You would not need them to be experts on the topic, but knowing the basics would make it easier to work on projects together. If everyone understood why things are done a certain way, there would be fewer arguments and more progress.

So there are clear benefits for them to learn this, but if you walked up to your developers and told them you're having training sessions to teach them about Scrum, you would likely be met with groans and eye-rolls.

So how do you get them acquainted with the topic without them even realizing it?

The Art of Informal Learning

Informal learning is not a new concept. It's actually how we learn 90% of the time.

Informal learning happens when people learn spontaneously from their everyday experiences - from the things they see, hear, and do.

It's the kind of learning that happens organically, without any sort of formal structure or agenda.

For example, you might learn how to make a new recipe by watching a cooking show or picking up some helpful gardening tips from a friend.

You don't necessarily need to be sitting in a classroom or attending a seminar in order to learn - it can happen organically, simply by paying attention to the world around you.

Informal learning is an important part of corporate education because it allows employees to learn new things in a way that feels natural and organic.

The Challenges of Corporate Education

Back in the day, these things would have been done in person. The manager from our example could have shared insights over lunch or during a coffee break.

But in today's remote work environment, those opportunities for organic learning are few and far between, so you need to get a little creative.

Another challenge of corporate education is scaling.

In a small company, it's easy enough to have one-on-one conversations or share helpful articles via email, but in a larger company with hundreds or even thousands of employees, it's not practical to try and reach everyone individually.

You need to find a way to share knowledge with large groups of people without overwhelming them or making them feel like they're back in school.

You Need New Tools

Technology can help you reach more employees with your corporate education initiatives, without bombarding them with information overload.

Another important obstacle to informal learning, that the right tool can help you overcome, is to help you foster a learning culture within your organization.

People learn more easily in a culture of collaboration and trust, and the right tool can help create this culture by providing a space for employees to have discussions, ask questions, and share their knowledge with each other.

If you can make learning a part of your employees' everyday lives, it will become second nature and eventually lead to better results for your company.

So how do you go about doing that?

Enter Lorino

Lorino is a new way to think about corporate education. It's a social intranet with a focus on sharing knowledge and basically a way to formalize informal learning.

What that means is that it provides a formal platform where employees can share their knowledge with each other in an informal way.

It's the perfect tool for companies who want to promote a culture of learning without making it feel like work.

Share Knowledge in Bite-Sized Pieces

Remember the manager who wanted to teach their team about Scrum?

Using Lorino they could do that by sharing articles, blogs, or even use cases that would be relevant to their team.

By sharing small pieces of information over a period of time, the team can learn about Scrum without feeling like they're in a training session.

Imagine if HR did that with company policies instead of making everyone sit through a 2-hour training once a year.

Or if marketing shared their latest campaign strategy in the form of a case study instead of holding a meeting.

The opportunities are endless.

And it does not always have to be knowledge shared top down.

Let Your Employees Educate Each Other

Using a social platform like Lorino comes with a lot of benefits, but the biggest one is that it enables employees to share their knowledge with each other.

In our experience, the best way to get on top of things is to learn from those who are already doing it.

Research shows that, even in work that appeared relatively routine, processes required the use of practical expertise, which comes from experience on the job and the sharing of knowledge between employees.

Create a Culture of Learning

Help your employees share knowledge by setting up a space for informal learning in your company.

This type of peer-to-peer learning is incredibly powerful and it's something that traditional training programs simply can't offer.

It's also one of the best ways to promote a culture of learning within your company.

When employees see that their peers are willing to share their knowledge, it encourages them to do the same.

Before you know it, you'll have created a virtuous circle of learning where everyone is constantly teaching and learning from each other.

Make Learning Fun

Finally, if you really want to get your employees engaged with corporate education, you need to make it fun.

Learning should be an enjoyable experience, not a chore, and Lorino can help you with that.

The social aspect of the platform makes it easy for employees to connect with each other and have discussions around the topics they're interested in.

You could also gamify the process by creating a leaderboard of the most active users or giving out awards for employees who contribute the most useful content.

Not only will this make learning more fun for your employees, but it will also help you to identify the star learners within your organization.

In Conclusion

So there you have it.

Incorporating informal learning into your company culture doesn't have to be difficult.

With a little creativity and the right tools, you can turn learning into a part of your employees' everyday lives and see real benefits for your business.

If you're interested in learning more about Lorino or seeing how it could benefit your company, schedule a demo with us today. We'd be happy to show you what we can do.

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