How to exploit the 3 types of Informal Learning Opportunity

Article by Ken Thompson, last updated April 2017


There are 3 opportunities for learning in a team-based informal learning event  – planned, shared and serendipitous. If you want to learn faster than your competitors  you should exploit all of them!  

  1. Planned Insights This is just learning something you wanted to learn yourself. However if you don’t know what you are wanting to learn then you have little chance of learning it.  So its important to decide what you want to learn first at the start of the session! Better if you tell others – ie be publically specific – then you are more likely to take it seriously.  
  2. Shared Insights It has been said that everybody can learn from their own mistakes but only a wise person can learn from other people’s mistakes. It is a very costly and slow business having to learn everything by making your own mistakes first.  
  3. Serendipitous Insights Serendipitous insights are the things which come up which are valuable but which you were not actually looking for!  It’s the “money found down the back of the sofa learning.” So a good ambition in any team-based informal learning event such as a simulation game is to come away with a “3-2-1? learning result:

3 * Planned Insights + 2 * Shared Insights + 1 * Serendipitous Insight

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More about Ken Thompson

Ken Thompson

Ken is a practitioner, author and speaker on Leadership, Collaborative Working, High Performing Teams, Change Management, Project Management and Business Acumen. His work has featured in major publications including The Guardian , Wired Magazine, The Huffington Post and The Henry Ford Magazine. Ken has also spoken at many international events including TEDx, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Learn Tech (London) and NASA.

Ken is Founder of Business Simulations Ltd.

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