Assignment: Formal and Informal Communication

Open Pedagogy Assignments are assignments in which students use their agency and creativity to create knowledge artifacts that can support their own learning, their classmates’ learning, and the learning of students around the world. (See this peer-reviewed article for more details.) The assignment on this page is aligned to the learning outcomes of Introduction to Business and we’ve identified the module where the reading appears. All of the assignments can be created with a cell phone camera or any video recording device, Google or Word documents, and your learning management system. 

Learning Outcome

  • Differentiate between formal and informal communication networks

In the module on Teamwork and Communication, we provide a general overview about the role of informal and formal communication in a business setting. For this assignment, you are going to work with a small group to hunt down useful links and resources for your fellow students about a local business. This work will become a living document that future students will use.

Think of your audience as friends who just got a job with a local business. You want to help them understand their new employer with the best information you can find. Using the search engine of your choice (Google, Bing, etc) find videos or documents that explain the differences between informal and formal communication.

  • In your own words, summarize on a Google Doc, or a similar online tool, why your definition is important to a person learning about teamwork and communication.
  • Find an example of informal and formal communication definitions. Provide the link to your source.
  • What is your experience with these two types of communication? You can use examples from your work experience or you cite examples in television shows and movies.What are the advantages and disadvantages of each form of communication? Why?

A Note To Teachers: You may want to break your students into groups and let them work on their own document that you will eventually create into one document. You may also want to point them to local businesses or industries that you focus on in your course such as retail or hospitality. If your first term’s assignment is to create the document, think of the next term’s assignment as checking that all of the links are correct and adding advice. In our analysis of student performance, we found that struggle with this learning outcome, so having a focus on each of these concepts–even in a conversational way–may help them with the summative quizzes.