One way that valuable knowledge in the workplace is acquired is through the informal learning experiences of the everyday work life of employees. This type of adult learning is referred to as being embedded and can be obtained or learned through self-directed learning experiences or passed down from our colleagues. Job-embedded learning refers to learning that occurs while on-the-job. Because learning occurs while on the job, integrating the new knowledge becomes second nature. Furthermore, job-embedded learning maximizes time because learning occurs while on-the-job. Finally, job-embedded learning is beneficial because it promotes immediate application of what is learned and costs less, in most cases, than conducting formal training.
In terms of adult learning in the workplace, the focus is on performance. Informal workplace learning needs to be recognized and fostered by organizations. This may be accomplished through mentoring, coaching, or consulting subject-matter experts. Technology can also be used to facilitate the informal transfer of knowledge by including virtual-learning support groups, instant messaging, expert networks, and mentor and coaching networks. The goal would be to create a marriage in which formal learning events and the serendipitous learning moments are given equal value.