In Part 1 of this series, we talked about Micro learning. In Part 2, we talk about another concept that has built over micro learning, called Learning in the Flow of Work. Before we get into understanding what exactly this concept means, we need to first establish why there is so much buzz around it.
We are all aware of the current landscape under which organizations and businesses are operating. It is dynamic and it is constantly being disrupted thanks to digital technologies and their capabilities. While organizations are working towards redefining their business models, processes and systems, their L&D teams are working towards:
- identifying new-age skills required by their workforce to support the new business scenario, and
- developing learning strategies that will support the development of these skills and propel the organization towards exponential growth.
Reimagining the people and learning strategy has become a business prerogative as 80% of CEOs’ believe that the need for new skills is the biggest challenge they face, according to research by PwC.
With the rate at which change is taking place today, the employability gap is increasing significantly, as not enough professionals currently possess the capabilities to effectively operate in the digital age, seasoned leaders included. In essence, the global workforce must go through a cycle of mass unlearning and relearning and do so quickly. The challenge is, however, that organizations and their employees alike do not have the luxury of time for capability development. LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report supports this fact. Unfortunately, not partaking in the process is also not an option.
The reality also is that while employees are geared to develop themselves, L&D teams aren’t as quick to jump on the bandwagon. Therefore, employees often take ownership of driving their own learning, and the source they usually go to is Google. We are so used to Google providing us any information we seek at the snap of a finger that we use Google incessantly, even when we know the answer to something. But this is also when we know what we are looking for.
Now imagine that you need to learn something new. Google might have all the information you need, but you don’t know where to start your learning journey. Any attempt to start learning is often left unstructured and all over the place. It ends up being a trial and error process, and this can be time consuming and ineffective.
This is where Learning in the Flow of Work (LFW) can prove to be fruitful. So, let’s understand the concept better. Learning in the Flow of Work, in the simplest sense, is making learning a part of everyday work. It works well as a learning method because it recognizes that for learning to effectively take place in the current business landscape, it must fit into the schedule of the employees, because, as we have already established, capability development is a necessity and time is of the essence.
Now, a methodology such as microlearning has an element of technology involved. So, it is expected that a lot of concerns might be raised on its actual impact:
- You could have employees who aren’t very tech-savvy, so how do you engage them?
- Your mobile addicted employees are easily distracted by social media and notifications from other apps, so how do you get them to stay on the learning path?
- Your employees are racing against time with their project deadlines and deliverables, so how do you empower them to make time to learn?
- You may already have several different platforms that you use for communication, performance management and even learning, perhaps, so how are you going to get your employees to be a part of and engage on yet another platform?
What makes Learning in the Flow of Work so convenient and powerful is that it:
- is accessible on-demand,
- allows learners to drive their own learning based on convenience,
- is carefully curated to fit the needs of the learner, taking away the need for experimentation, and
- Can easily be integrated with all sorts of existing digital platforms.
In other words, Learning in the Flow of Work is an advanced and more effective take on microlearning.
But how do you go about actually implementing this?
Incorporating Learning in the Flow of Work in an organization effectively takes on the following considerations
- Learning is embedded into existing platforms:
- Imagine you are in sales or marketing. Using a sales/marketing CRM is a huge part of the process, and you spend a significant amount of time on the platform. Marketing, Sales and Service Software provider HubSpot capitalizes on this by incorporating HubSpot Academy right on the platform to help users of the platform also develop their technical and functional capabilities
- Microsoft products are perhaps the most used professional tools today, with Microsoft’s comprehensive portfolio of Office 365. A notable mention from Microsoft’s portfolio is Microsoft Teams, a collaboration tool that provides a shared workspace for teams to chat, meet, share files and work with business apps. The software also allows for multiple other integrations with service partners to provide users a complete environment to learn, teach, work and be productive.
- The content mix comprises 4 E’s that allows for multi-modal delivery of learning:
- Education – through in-classroom and virtual workshops, videos, etc.
- Experience – through developmental plans, checklist, job rotations, on-the-job assignments, etc.
- Exposure – through peer feedback, mentoring, coaching, etc.
- Environment – through tools, systems and infrastructure such as articles, books, games, e-learning courses, mobile applications, etc.
- There is a shift in the way content is created, curated and deployed for maximum engagement:
- Learner capabilities, learning styles and learning needs can be understood to deploy well-curated, personalized learning.
- Content is chunked into sizeable bites the delivery of which is appropriately spaced to allow maximum absorption, retention and recall.
- Platform capabilities allow for tracking engagement and performance as well as automated follow-ups to propel learning
This concept was introduced by Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin by Deloitte, and now the Josh Bersin Academy, the research and professional development academy for HR and business leaders. It has transformed the Learning and Development space and has CEOs and HR experts investing time into deciding the best way to implement this new learning methodology.
Taking a cue from this new learning methodologies, several organizations have found different means of incorporating learning into their employee’s day to day activities:
- Procter & Gamble: They believe in the ideology of ‘The fastest learner wins’, as to keep up with today’s trends and changing market conditions, one must be a fast learner. P&G has incorporated learning in the flow of work in it’s learning/training program as well – by providing easy access to information, performance support aids, and carefully curated training – which can be directly applied to work.
- Sainsbury’s: Usually, corporates implement those learning training programs that they think fit, or that they think is possible to implement effectively – without taking into consideration what is practicable or that can be applied in their employees’ day to day lives. At Sainsbury’s, they take time to realize the practical difficulties that the employees face and come up with learning platforms/solutions based on the same.
- Banco Santander: The organization’s goal is to create corporate learning experiences that match high quality customer grade experiences. To do so, the organization works towards creating learning in the flow of the work ecosystem, which allows the workforce’s capabilities to be developed at scale.
Has the concept of Learning in the Flow of Work got you thinking about your own learning practices? Think it’s time for an upgrade?
Maybe KNOLSKAPE can help.
You may know this – KNOLSKAPE has, since our inception, worked towards transforming the landscape of learning and helping organizations stay ahead of the curve in developing employee capabilities.
What you may not know is that in our current endeavor towards this goal, we have launched AktivLearn Passport. Leveraging the world’s largest library of online business simulations, rich talent intelligence and a cutting-edge experience platform, Passport helps leaders and organizations build current and future capabilities to take their businesses towards 10x growth.
A three-step model will have you deploying the Learning in the Flow of Work methodology in no time. Using a wide variety of courses on leadership development and future skills, through a multi-modal delivery channel, empower your leaders to:
- Lead the NOW and the NEXT seamlessly
- Make quantum leaps in capability development
- Become continuous learners
Make this possible for your learners and talk to us today.