In 2018, Josh Bersin coined the term “learning in the flow of work,” referring to making on-the-go learning more accessible in the workplace. Integrating learning into the learners’ daily workflows creates a continuous and contextual learning experience: something that is critical in the modern workplace. This learning model is designed in way that enables learners to continuously upskill and improve their efficiency.

In this article, we’ll discuss the need for learning in the flow of work for today’s workforce and best practices for organizations to integrate learning into their existing workflows:

Learning in the flow of work is an absolute must today

Learning in the flow of work goes beyond traditional learning methods by meeting employees “where they are” rather than downloading yet another app for upskilling learning. The need for learning in the flow of work has never been more crucial. 57% of surveyed HR leaders say skill shortages are undermining their ability to sustain corporate performance, according to a recent report by Gartner. The demand for continuous skill development, coupled with the rapid evolution of technologies, necessitates a learning approach that is dynamic, accessible, and impactful. 

Embracing learning in the flow of work has shown a positive impact on many learning and development initiatives, such as improved knowledge retention, course completion rates, and enhanced employee engagement. This heightened engagement translates into higher productivity and better learning outcomes. Moreover, this learning model has also proven to be a cost-effective solution for employers. By seamlessly integrating learning into the daily workflow, organizations can optimize their resources and minimize the need for separate, time-consuming training sessions.

Five ways to incorporate learning in the flow of work 

By incorporating these practices, organizations can truly embed learning in the flow of work and reap the benefits of a more agile and responsive workforce.

  • Make Learning more accessible: Learning is made easily accessible to learners by removing any technological, logistical, or geographical barriers that might hinder their ability to engage with the material. This also includes ensuring compatibility with various devices and providing a user-friendly interface. In other words, employees should be able to learn on the go, whether they are in the office, at home, or during business travel, and on a smartphone, tablet, or computer tied to a desk.
  • Integrate into existing technology: Seamless integration into existing technological infrastructure is the key to success in this model. Learning in the flow of work should complement rather than disrupt daily workflows, ensuring a smooth transition for learners. For instance, if your organization primarily uses collaboration tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams, embed learning modules directly into these platforms. This way, learners can access relevant training materials without switching between multiple applications, making learning a natural part of their work environment.
  • Personalize it: Tailor learning content to be hyper-relevant to the specific roles and responsibilities of each learner. Every organization has different departments with distinct needs. It’s imperative to create targeted learning paths for each. For instance, the marketing team might have modules on the latest digital marketing trends, while the IT team focuses on cybersecurity updates. This customization ensures that the information is directly applicable, making the learning experience more meaningful.
  • Embrace micro-learning: Delivering content in short, focused bursts increases knowledge retention and learner engagement. This approach aligns with the short attention spans of today’s learners and allows for quick, efficient knowledge absorption. For example, provide a five-minute video tutorial on a specific software feature or a quick quiz on a new company policy. This approach accommodates busy schedules and promotes continuous learning.
  • Encourage peer-to-peer collaboration and mentorship: By integrating peer-to-peer collaboration and mentorship into the fabric of your culture, learners become active participants in each other’s learning journeys. Imagine a scenario where a new employee joins the marketing team of a tech company. Instead of relying solely on formal onboarding sessions, the organization can encourage peer-to-peer collaboration and mentorship. It is also important to put in place a feedback mechanism for employees to continuously make sure the learning process remains dynamic and responsive to the evolving needs of employees. 

Suggested Read: Empathy and AI: How Emotion AI Can Potentially Change Learning Experiences

In a nutshell, learning in the flow of work is not just a concept; it’s a necessity for businesses. It’s benefits, from improved engagement to cost-effectiveness, are too compelling to ignore. By embracing this learning model and implementing its best practices, organizations can position themselves at the forefront of learning and development, unlocking the full potential of their workforce in the process.