About a year ago I participated in a research group that focused on Informal Learning and participated in some great discussions. As we worked throuhg our research we distinguished formal from informal learning by the packaging. That is, formal learning components have instructional design, a facilitator (personal or technical), and a beginning and an end while informal components are not packaged. Here are some examples,
Formal and Informal Resources that support learning:
- University Course
- LMS-driven Online Course
- Subject Matter Expert
Another distinction may be that formal resources usually have learning objectives written to be specific, measurable, attainable, behavioral. For example:
- At this end of this lesson, the student will be able to calculate tolerances using process capability data.
- At this end of this lesson, the student will be able to evaluate the use of control measurement systems and ensure that measurement capability is sufficient for its intended use.
- At this end of this lesson, the student will be able to develop a problem statement, including baseline and improvement goals.
Learning objects and their objectives help a student to understand what he or she should be able to know or do to be successful in a course. A compentency, on the other hand, helps someone know the knowledge, skills, abilities, and characteristics that will make them successful in a particular role. As we begin to think in terms of competencies, we can see that learning objectives reveal the competencies that the learning resource will target.
A learning resource supports or enables the achievement of a competency.
A single competency may have many development resources.
A single development resource may be linked to multiple competencies.
When competencies are defined they should be described with a category or group, a definition and demonstrated behaviors that aid the evaluation of the competency. One author defined competencies as, “A specific, identifiable, definable, and measurable knowledge, skill, ability and/or other deployment-related characteristic (e.g. attitude, behavior, physical ability) which a human resource may possess and which is necessary for, or material to, the performance of an activity within a specific business context.”
An example of a competency may be
|People management competencies||Building Team Spirit||Provide team members with the excitement and desire to cooperate with each other, contributing to common goals||Encourages help and respect to other team members Creates a common mission and a feeling of belonging to a team that aims at such|
|Developing People||Help team members to reach their potential in personal development.||Provide mentoring and experience transfer Provide feedback on strengths and weaknesses of the team members|
Competency models can be derived from the learning objectives found in training programs, but the models should also seek to define the characteristics (attitudes and behaviors) that describe a successful employee. When competency models and training resources are linked, the organization establishes the path for talent management and succession planning that are vital to today’s lean organizations.