Informal (Field-Based) Learning

Scott I. Tannenbaum, Mikhail A. Wolfson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Most learning in the workplace occurs outside of formal learning environments mdash it happens informally, quot in the field. quot In this review, we share what is known about how such informal field-based learning (IFBL) works, offer guidance on how to promote healthy IFBL, and identify future research needs. We first situate IFBL within the broader stream of the learning literature. On the basis of the literature and organizational needs, we propose a CAM-OS framework that emphasizes five personal and situational readiness factors for enabling constructive IFBL: Capability, Awareness, Motivation, Opportunity, and Support. We use the framework to offer practical, evidence-based advice for each of three stakeholder groups mdash senior leaders, managers, and employees mdash and conclude with suggested avenues for future research. The review is grounded in the research literature with an emphasis on implications for practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-414
Number of pages24
JournalAnnual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the Army Research Institute (ARI) for funding research under contract W5J9CQ-12-C-0048 that influenced the first author’s thinking about informal learning. The views expressed in the article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Defense or the ARI.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Annual Reviews Inc.. All rights reserved.


  • employee development
  • field-based learning
  • informal learning
  • learning
  • on-The-job learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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