Informal Learning Center


People acquire the skills they use at work informally — talking, observing others, trial-and-error, and simply working with people in the know. Formal training and workshops account for only 5% to 20% of what people learn from experience and interactions.

Order the Informal Learning book or read a summary or download the Informal Learning Poster.


What is Informal Learning? Informal learning is the unofficial, unscheduled, impromptu way most people learn to do their jobs. Informal learning is like riding a bicycle: the rider chooses the destination and the route. The cyclist can take a detour at a moment’s notice to admire the scenery or help a fellow rider.

Most corporations over-invest in formal training while leaving the more natural, simple ways we learn to chance. This is foolish, for there are many ways to encourage informal learning and they boost the bottom line.

Need to get your arms around the essence of informal learning in business in a hurry? Start with these:


Informal Learning: Rediscovering the Natural Pathways That Inspire Innovation and Performance

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Kindle edition
What is informal learning?

Read a free chapter

CASES.Chapter 8: Envisioning.
Chapter 9: Conversation.
Chapter 10: Communities.
Chapter 11: Unblended.
Chapter 12: The Web.
Chapter 13: Grokking.
Chapter 14: Unconferences.
Chapter 15: Just Do It

Where did the 80% come from?

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Articles and Commentary

70:20:10 Learning Approaches, Charles Jennings

Managers, the Secret Weapon for Developing Better Employees (70 20 10)

The Oxford Debate on Informal Learning

Introducing Informal Learning, Marcia Conner

Eight Reasons Why You Should Focus on Social and Informal Learning, Charles Jennings

Not Without Purpose, Jay Cross

Social Learning Gets Real, ibid

Focusing on Strategy & Governance, Charles Jennings

When it’s just so obvious NOT to train it’s painful to watch it happen, ibid

Towards a definition of Informal Learning, Jane Hart

Guide to Social Learning, ibid

Informal Learning Works for New Hires, Harold Jarche

PKM & Informal Learning, ibid

Informal Learning & Performance Technology, ibid

Driving formal & informal from the same place, Clark Quinn

Seed, Feed & Weed, ibid

aprendizagem informal – os outros 80%”, Jay Cross and Luiz Algarra

Corporate Training is Broken and How to Fix It, Jay Cross


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