Peter Henschel, former director of the Institute for Research on Learning (IRL), said (Cross, 2007, p. xiii): “People are learning all the time, in varied settings and often most effectively in the context of work itself. ‘Training’ ─ formal learning of all kinds ─ channels some important learning but doesn’t carry the heaviest load. The workhorse of the knowledge economy has been, and continues to be, informal learning (p. xiiip. xiii).” Cross (2007, p. 243) explains that study results vary, but findings still show that the majority, anywhere from 70 to 90 percent, of learning in organizations takes place informally. Yet, corporations spend 80% of their training budget on formal training and only 20% on informal (p. 17). Deepak (Dick) Sethi, the CEO of Organic Leadership, said (Cross, 2007): “Informal learning is effective because it is personal, just-in-time, customized, and the learner is motivated and open to receiving it. It also has greater credibility and relevance” (p. 17). Cross (2007) defines informal learning as any learning that takes place outside of the classroom, which he considers formal learning.

Sargeant, et al. (2006) conducted a study that focused on high-scoring physicians. Results showed that a fundamental component of success was informal learning opportunities, especially through working with patients, and working with and having discussions with colleagues. Similarly in a study that examined how nurses become competent practitioners, informal learning strategies proved to be key (Sharoff, 2006).

The usage of a microblog itself is an informal experience. While some people update their statuses once a day, others update it every time they change tasks. The question is: can a glance at a status message help us learn and even perform better?

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