Training Delivery Methods & Styles

How to Enable Learning in the Flow of Work (+Benefits)

How to Enable Learning in the Flow of Work (+Benefits)

In the rush to create and launch a corporate L&D strategy, enterprises often lose sight of what is important for employees. Training must be contextual to employees, built around their needs, and help them overcome their day-to-day challenge.

One emerging enterprise learning and development concept is learning in the flow of work, with is ready to shake up the $200 billion corporate training market, as it focuses on the kind of corporate L&D that empower employees with the right learning materials, at the right time. This type of employee training provides contextual training that has a high retention rate, without sacrificing productivity.

What Is Learning in the Flow of Work?

Learning in the flow of work refers to the integration of learning activities and resources directly into the daily workflows of employees. Rather than having separate training sessions or dedicated learning time, this approach seamlessly embeds learning opportunities within the natural flow of employees’ work. It aims to provide just-in-time support, relevant knowledge, and learning resources that are readily accessible when needed. Learning in the flow of work emphasizes the idea that learning should be a continuous and integrated part of the work process, enhancing productivity, performance, and employee development.

Corporate Benefits Of Learning In the Flow Of Work

Learning in the flow of work offers a range of corporate benefits that contribute to organizational growth, employee development, and overall success. A few of the key benefits include:

1. A more engaged learning experience

Delivering training that’s more relevant to employees’ roles and faster to complete naturally results in higher learner engagement. By providing learning opportunities within their daily tasks, employees feel more connected to their work and are motivated to continuously improve their knowledge and skills. This higher level of engagement translates into increased job satisfaction, productivity, and employee retention.

2. Increased efficiency and productivity

When learning is integrated into work processes, employees can quickly acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to address challenges and perform tasks more effectively. The just-in-time nature of learning in the flow of work ensures that employees have the resources they need at the moment of need, resulting in improved efficiency and increased productivity.

3. Continuous learning culture

By emphasizing continuous learning within a work environment, organizations can foster a strong learning culture. Employees become more proactive in seeking knowledge, sharing insights, and embracing a growth mindset. A continuous learning culture fuels innovation, agility, and a commitment to ongoing improvement at all levels of the organization.

4. More cost-effective method of training

Integrating learning into the flow of work is more cost-effective as compared to traditional training methods. By leveraging existing work platforms and tools, organizations can eliminate or reduce the need for separate training sessions, travel expenses, and dedicated training facilities. This results in significant cost savings while promoting ongoing employee development.

Challenges of the Learning In the Flow of Work Approach

While learning in the flow of work offers significant benefits, there are also challenges that organizations face when implementing this approach to L&D. A few common challenges include:

1. Resistance to change

Shifting from traditional training methods to a learning in the flow of work approach may require a cultural shift within the organization. Resistance to change and reluctance to adopt new practices can be a significant challenge. Organizations need to effectively communicate the value, benefits, and purpose of this approach to gain buy-in from employees and stakeholders.

2. Technological barriers

Lack of access to appropriate technology or inadequate infrastructure can hinder the integration of learning resources within everyday work platforms. Organizations must ensure that employees have access to the necessary tools and technologies to facilitate learning in the flow of work. benefits, and purpose of this approach to gain buy-in from employees and stakeholders.

3. Individual learning preferences

Addressing the diverse learning needs and preferences of employees can be challenging when implementing learning in the flow of work. Designing learning experiences that cater to individual needs while ensuring consistency and standardization across the organization requires careful planning and customization options. Enterprises must create learning cohorts based upon individual needs and learning styles of effectively implement a learning in the flow of work model.

4. Knowledge management

Ensuring the accuracy and relevance of learning resources integrated into work platforms requires effective enterprise knowledge management. This includes keeping all process and training documentation updated and accessible, as well as having self-help knowledge centers like a knowledge base or internal wiki for employees to find the performance support they need. Regular updates and quality control measures need to be implemented to provide employees with up-to-date and reliable help and information.

Learning By Doing With Digital Guidance

How To Enable Learning In the Flow of Work

Implementing learning in the flow of work requires a thoughtful approach and careful planning by enterprise L&D teams. Here are some key steps to effectively implement this learning approach.

1. Assess learning needs

Conduct a thorough training needs analysis of the the biggest learning gaps in your organization and identify areas where learning can be integrated into your employees’ daily work processes. Understand the skills and knowledge gaps that need to be addressed for improved performance.

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2. Align with work tasks

Identify specific work tasks or processes where learning can be integrated into the workflows themselves with helpful, embedded guidance, tooltips, field validations, and more. Determine the key points where employees can benefit from learning support or guidance in their workflow.

You can embed performance support and workflow guidance directly into your applications with a digital adoption platform like Whatfix. Whatfix enables L&D teams with a no-code editor to create and launch in-app flows, smart tips, task lists, pop-ups, self-help wikis, and more – all providing moment of need learning, in the flow of work, that’s contextual to your employees tasks and workflows.

3. Include the 4Es into your content mix

Josh Bersin, an L&D analyst first credited with creating the “learning in the flow of work” concept, believes that to get continuous learning right, enterprises must follow a four-approach framework. Those four approaches include:

  • Education: Education should be made up of training elements that have a fixed start and end, and can be measured and tracked. These include workshops, instructor-led courses, self-paced online videos, and more.
  • Experience: Integrate learning elements into everyday experiences that allow them to become a part of your employees’ everyday work. This includes development plans, checklists, job rotation, on-the-job assignments, in-app guidance and nudges, and more.
  • Exposure: This involves training elements that focus on interactions and relationships to encourage knowledge sharing through peer-to-peer feedback, collaborative learning, and mentoring.
  • Environment: This includes all the tools, systems, and infrastructure that support continuous learning, such as articles, books, games, elearning courses, L&D tools, your corporate LMS, and other training apps.

4. Develop microlearning resources

Microlearning is an approach to learning that breaks training content down into small, bite-sized information modules. Smaller learning sessions, aligned with the identified work tasks, provide all information necessary for learners to achieve a specific training objective in a short window of time. Microlearning is more effective because learners apply the skills they’ve acquired before they lose attention, thus leading to higher rates of learning retention

5. Accessibility

Learners need to be able to find the information they are looking for whenever they desire it, on whatever platform, and in the right context. Understanding your employees’ capabilities and how they consume information is critical to delivering the right learning experience at the right time.

6. Embed learning tools

Leverage digital tools and technologies to facilitate learning in the flow of work. Examples of L&D tools that enabled learning in the flow of work include:

  • Learning Management Systems (LMS): An LMS is a digital platform that administers, tracks, and delivers educational courses or training programs. In the context of learning in the flow of work, an LMS can provide on-demand access to learning resources, enabling employees to learn new skills or knowledge as needed without interrupting their work.
  • Digital Adoption Platforms (DAP): DAPs guide and support users in adopting and maximizing new digital tools or software. They provide real-time, contextual assistance within the application itself, helping employees learn how to use the tool effectively during their regular workflow, reducing the learning curve and improving productivity. They also integrate with your knowledge repositories to centralize your documentation and learning materials, making it easier to access and searchable.
  • Knowledge Bases: These are centralized repositories of informational articles, FAQs, how-to guides, and other resources that provide employees with quick and easy access to essential knowledge. When integrated into the workflow, they enable employees to find solutions to their queries or learn new information directly in the course of their work.
  • Performance Support Tools: These tools provide targeted guidance at the moment of need, helping employees perform tasks more efficiently and effectively. By delivering just-in-time learning and assistance within the work context, they bridge knowledge gaps, enhance performance, and reduce the need for formal training.
  • Collaboration Platforms: These are digital tools that facilitate communication, collaboration, and knowledge sharing among team members. When used as a part of learning in the flow of work, they enable employees to learn from each other’s experiences and insights, share knowledge, and solve problems collectively within the workspace, thus promoting continuous learning and improvement. Examples may include Slack, MS Teams, or Loom.

7. Provide on-demand performance support for employees

Ensure that employees have the necessary support and self-help resources to access training materials and receive assistance when and where they need it. Offer contextual guidance on how to navigate the learning resources and promote self-directed learning.

8. Build a strong corporate learning culture

Remember that continuous learning is not just about the technology or content formats but also about humans and culture. You should work towards building an organizational culture that encourages the democratization of learning. Everyone should be empowered to share knowledge via the likes of mentorship and connected internal social networks – which helps to build a learning organization.

4 Examples of Learning In the Flow of Work

Organizations worldwide are seeing the benefits of incorporating learning in the flow of work into their day-to-day platforms and processes. Here are some examples of the same.

  1. Salesforce Trailhead: Salesforce, a global customer relationship management (CRM) platform, offers Trailhead, an interactive learning platform integrated into their CRM system. Employees can learn Salesforce skills and best practices directly within the platform as they work on real projects. Trailhead provides guided learning paths, interactive modules, and hands-on challenges to enhance skills practically.
  2. Microsoft Teams Learning App: Microsoft has introduced a Learning App within their collaboration platform, Microsoft Teams. The app provides access to personalized learning content, training modules, and knowledge resources directly within the interface. Employees can learn and upskill on topics such as Microsoft products, productivity, and industry-specific skills while collaborating with colleagues.
  3. IBM’s Continuous Learning Framework: IBM’s continuous learning framework integrates learning into their employees’ workflow. The framework includes personalized learning journeys, microlearning modules, and performance support tools. Employees can access learning resources relevant to their roles and projects, supporting their continuous skill development within their daily work tasks.
  4. Accenture’s MyLearning Experience: Accenture, a global professional services firm, offers MyLearning Experience, an internal learning platform that integrates with their intranet and work systems. Employees have access to curated learning resources, social learning features, and virtual training sessions. Learning is seamlessly integrated into their work routines, allowing employees to develop skills and gain knowledge in alignment with their projects and career goals.
  5. Hays In-App Guided CRM Experiences: Staffing and recurring company Hays provides employees with in-app guided experiences to drive adoption of its CRM and sales processes and workflows with Whatfix. This enables employees to utlize contextual assistance when completing their tasks and workflows, directly in their CRM interface. This led to a 5x increase in CRM engagement and a 75% reduction in CRM-related IT support tickets.

6 Tools To Provide Learning & Development In the Flow Of Work

There are several tools available that can facilitate learning and development in the flow of work. Here are some examples:

1. Learning Management Systems (LMS): Corporate LMS provide a centralized hub for organizing, delivering, and tracking learning content. They allow organizations to deliver self-paced courses, microlearning modules, assessments, and other learning materials to employees. LMS platforms often offer features such as progress tracking, certification management, and reporting capabilities.

2. Digital Adoption Plaforms: Digital adoption platforms integrate with existing applications to provide in-app guidance to learners. DAPs use helpful add-ons such as step-by-step instructions, interactive walkthroughs, task lists, and in-app self-help menus to provide contextual guidance, in the moment of need.

Whatfix Salesforce Migration

Whatfix is a digital adoption platform (DAP) that lies on top of any software or application to provide interactive in-app guidance in the form of helpful nudges and interactive walkthroughs to facilitate employee onboarding, drive change management and digital transformation, provide on-demand performance support, and improve knowledge sharing.

Furthermore, Whatfix is a no-code platform that empowers L&D teams to create in-app experiences without the need for engineering support. It also provides advanced employee analytics on software engagement, training effectiveness, and onboarding completion.

Create personalized learning & training flows for your enterprise apps with Whatfix

3. Performance Support Tools: Performance support tools provide on-the-job guidance and resources to support employees in their work tasks. These tools can include knowledge bases, job aids, interactive guides, decision trees, or context-sensitive help systems. They are designed to provide just-in-time information and support as employees navigate their work responsibilities.

4. Collaboration and Communication Platforms: Collaboration platforms, such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, or Google Workspace, can be utilized to facilitate learning in the flow of work. These platforms allow employees to create dedicated channels or groups for sharing knowledge, asking questions, and discussing learning topics. Employees can access learning materials, collaborate with colleagues, and seek help within the same digital environment where they carry out their work tasks.

5. Mobile Learning Apps: Mobile learning apps enable employees to access learning content on their smartphones or tablets, providing flexibility and convenience. These apps can offer a range of learning resources, including videos, interactive modules, quizzes, and performance support tools. Mobile learning apps allow employees to learn on-the-go, making use of spare moments during their workday.

6. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) Tools: VR and AR technologies enable immersive and interactive learning experiences. These tools can be used to simulate real-world scenarios, provide hands-on training, or offer virtual tours. By incorporating VR and AR into the flow of work, employees can learn by doing and apply their knowledge in a practical and engaging manner.

Enable Learning In the Flow Of Work With Whatfix

To summarize, learning in the flow of work is a crucial concept for businesses looking to improve the impact of their training and maximize ROI. By providing the right information at the right time, employees are empowered to implement their learnings in real-time, which translates into higher engagement with better business performance.

To get the most value from learning in the flow of work, implement a training tool like Whatfix that provides real-time guidance and on-screen support within any software or application employees use in their daily workflow. Through interactive walkthroughs, tooltips, and performance support tools, DAPs offer contextual information and just-in-time learning resources that help employees learn and utilize the tools effectively while performing their tasks. 

To learn more about Whatfix training, schedule a free demo with us today!

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Enable your employees with in-app guidance, self-help support, process changes alerts, pop-ups for department announcements, and field validations to improve data accuracy.

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