Harold Jarche says that “most learning happens informally on the job. Formal instruction, or training, accounts for less than 20%, and some research shows it is about 5% of workplace learning.” He divides learning into dependent, interdependent, and independent–that is, formal instruction like you get in school; social and collaborative learning like you get when you engage colleagues; and learning supported by tools and information.
As an evaluator, what do you do with that other 95%? Do you read? Tweet? Talk to folks? Just how do you learn more about evaluation? I don’t think there is a best way. I think that the individual needs to look what their strengths are (assets, if you will), where their passions lie, where their questions occur (and those may or may not be needs–shift the paradigm, people). Sometimes learning emerges from a place never before explored. A good example–I’ve been charged with the evaluation of a organizational change. Although I’ve looked at references for organizational change, actually had a course in organizational behavior in graduate school, I haven’t really gone looking for answers…until this evaluation was assigned. Then, at this years AEA annual conference, one of the professional development session captured much of what I’ve been puzzling– not that it will have answers; but maybe I’ll learn something, something I can take back with me; something I could use; perhaps even something in that 95%. This professional development session (informal learning and interdependent) will afford me an opportunity for learning; for content I haven’t experienced. I’d put it in the other 95%.
Social media falls into the category of the other 95%–it connects folks. It provides information. It builds community where one has not been before. Can it take the place of formal education; no, I don’t think so. Can it provide a source of information; possibly (it then becomes a matter of reliability). My take away for today–explore other types of learning; share what you know.