Visualizing Informal Professional Development Networks: Building a Case for Learning Analytics in the Workplace
Informal learning has become an important driver for professional development and workplace learning. Yet, however powerful informal learning may be, there is a problem when it comes to making it a real asset within organizations: Informal learning activities are spontaneous and mostly invisible to others. The aim of this study is to develop a method that helps raise awareness about these activities using a learning analytics approach. This method concentrates on detecting and visualizing informal professional social networks and finding ways in which their presence and accessibility can be improved. This study shows that the presented methodology is a promising research-driven intervention. With this methodology we can detect multiple (isolated) networks in organizations, connect ideas, and facilitate value creation. Using this approach, organizations can link with existing informal networks of practice and unlock their potential for organizational learning by giving them a voice and making their results more explicit within the organization. 2013 SAGE Publications.