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Learning on the job – about INFORMAL LEARNING

– Learning on the job – about INFORMAL LEARNING

Learning on the job – about INFORMAL LEARNING


School, education, studies, or courses – knowledge transfer takes place in regulated channels. However, people acquire a large part of their knowledge and skills elsewhere. Informal learning also referred to in the professional context as learning on the job, which has been gaining in importance for years. The main reason for this is that the opportunities for informal learning due to digital change are almost unlimited.


What is informal learning?

Informal learning comprises all forms of learning that are not part of a specially structured range of courses, that are not institutionally organized, and that are not linked to specified spatial or temporal requirements. This may sound very complicated at first, but essentially means nothing more than: Informal learning is everything that you will not learn in school, studies, training, or other courses, but learn in everyday situations.


Unlike formal learning, it is not a matter of getting a certificate of your learning success at the end.


Soft skills in particular are acquired almost exclusively through informal learning. Of course, personality plays a role here, but those who want to improve such key competencies rarely attend a training course. Rather, in everyday life, you can learn the properties.


At work

Informal learning plays an important role in the job. Around 70% of an employee’s skills are gained through daily tasks and challenges. It is this informal learning, learning on the job, that develops skills and qualifications – not the classic forms of further training or seminars. 


Informal learning in the job takes place in different versions:


  • Learning from colleagues
  • Exchange with other departments or customers
  • Existence of professional challenges
  • Visiting trade fairs or events
  • Opening up new work areas
  • Taking on more responsibility


There are many reasons why it is worth stressing the importance of these educational experiences. Between these:


  • they can cover various aspects that are missing from regulated institutions, alongside formal learning;
  • they are voluntary learning and their goal is often learning itself rather than obtaining a title;
  • they are flexible and allow more personalized and targeted learning.


Related articles:
 Can I LEARN soft skills?