have to admit that it's always kind of bugged me that i took to the arguments and data regarding the prevalence of informal learning in the workplace. i hardly blinked at the statistic that 80% of all learning is outside of formal learning contexts like instructor lead training. it just made sense to me. but why?
well one of the why's hit me square between the eyes the other day as i was working on my job search "elevator pitch". what dawned on me was that i took to the concept of informal learning because that's exactly how i've built my career. i learned regression analysis from rebecca oxford when we were crunching numbers for a needs analysis at heinle & heinle and i needed
to program it into lotus 123. i learned japanese negotiating tactics from reading books and talking to friends who had experienced it. i've learned software program after software program by trial and error, some books, a couple great cheat sheets, and intentional play. i've intentionally placed myself in positions where i'd be challenged to learn new things constantly. which has lead to a very broad base of knowledge, skills and experience across the business terrain.
however, for the second job search in a row my lack of an mba or an ivy on my college have been brought up as obstacles. job requirements list an alphabet soup of certifications that can/should appear behind your name. each of them a testament to a formal learning process.
while we're trying to build the roi of informal learning, can we figure out a way to "certify" it too?