Modern learners are a busy bunch. They have too many things on their platter and most often, the direct effect of this is on their learning. A LinkedIn study that surveyed over 4,000 L&D professionals found employees’ lack of time as one of the top issues that plague learning programs.

However, L&D programs do not necessarily have to be viewed as an additional burden for employees. In fact, given the seminal advancement in digital training technology, skill development can take place with immense flexibility without affecting the schedules of learners. This novel L&D strategy now popularly referred to as ‘learning in the flow of work’ is all about building an organizational environment that nurtures workforce development without too many expectations in terms of time, money or overall resources.

What Is Learning in the Flow Of Work?

The basic premise of learning in the flow of work is assimilating learning into daily tasks and operations, instead of expecting people to allocate separate time for it. Traditional workplace learning and development programs are most often disliked by employees because they have to spend large chunks of time over them.

In the pandemic, their feasibility became even lesser given that the workforce was scattered across the globe which meant finding one common time zone for dedicated training for the entire workforce was impossible. Learning in the flow of work became all the more popular during this time as a solution for employee development because it focused on integrating training within the work hours rather than making it a separate activity.

Moreover, given today’s rapid pace of business, most employees don’t have the time to stop working to learn a new skill. They prefer learning that comes in small, quick bursts of knowledge that help drive their immediate projects. Learning is no longer about spending time on a four-hour long session but, rather, empowering the workforce to find solutions and move forward while the work continues to happen.

Ways of Leveraging Learning in the Flow of Work

There are a several different strategies that your organization can use to leverage the efficacy of learning in the flow of work.

One tried and tested way is Microlearning – a strategy that is perhaps known to work the best for learning in the flow of work. A Microlearning approach is focused on creating bite-sized, easy-to-consume learning solutions. Microlearning can take the form of short videos, interactive modules, and multiple other L&D modes. A successful Microlearning program is agile, accessible and on-demand which allows employees to choose what they want to learn, where they want to learn and how they want to learn.

Another form of learning in the flow of work is the use of Performance Support Tools. Performance Support Tools are all about boosting learner motivation, while also ensuring that training is reinforced and applied when needed. It is also based on the principles of on demand-knowledge and learning by doing. While Performance Support Tools are often used to supplement training, they can also prove to be effective to replace conventional training with learning in the flow of work. Also known as learning aids, they can easily be embedded in the workflow. They help provide employees access to the information they need, at the time of their need so that they become capable to instantly apply that knowledge to solve their problems.

Inculcating Learning in the Flow of Work

Learning in the flow is about making learning proactive so that the right knowledge is passed on to the right person to offer just-in-time learning. Here are some examples of how this can be done:

  • Short how-to kind of videos with step-by-step instructions can be given to employees, especially those like service professionals or technicians who can refer to these videos at the time of their need.
  • If a manager is scheduled to evaluate employee performance during appraisal, an alert with a link to the evaluation process can be sent to the manager’s device so that he/she can conduct the steps properly.
  • A small video with a customer case study can be sent to a sales rep’s device before an important appointment with a prospective client so that he/she can refer to it before the meeting for guidance.

Takeaway

Every organization is likely to face the challenges of a changing L&D landscape. But it is important to stay agile. Adopting learning into the flow of work as a strategy can effectively help address drop in employee engagement and performance.

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