Looking to integrate learning into your employees’ daily work routine?

If your answer is “yes,” you are not alone. Many organizations want to empower their employees to find answers to challenges within the flow of their workday. To accomplish this, people are turning to learning and development (L&D) leaders to create training that seamlessly blends into their learners’ typical day-to-day routine and doesn’t disrupt their performance.

Learning In The Flow Of Work Solutions

There are a lot of ways to integrate learning into an employee’s workday. Learning in the flow of work can take on a lot of different looks, from just-in-time learning — like microlearning and job aids — to more complex, technology-based solutions like interactive videos, augmented reality, simulations tools and mobile learning.

Learning in the flow of work can also have a more personal and hands-on approach with on-the-job training, coaching and mentorship. Mentors and coaches can serve as points of contact for questions and honest feedback. They can also provide agile performance support within the workday as needed.

No matter what solution you decide to implement, turn to these four tips to successfully integrate learning in your employees’ workflow.

Tip No. 1) Design the right learning experience.

Before the design process, consider the training objective: Is it for learners to learn how to perform a specific job-related task or is it to teach them critical thinking skills?

In other words, what kind of behavior change is desired? As a L&D leader, you must consider whether the learning will be procedural (e.g., learning how to use a new technology) or if it will be knowledge based, such as emotional intelligence (EQ) training or leadership training. It’s important to be able to identify the desired results to help with selecting the right mode of learning.

If the learning is more procedural, such as learning how to navigate a newly adopted learning management system (LMS), than job aids or a content library may be useful to instill learning. However, mentorship and microlearning may be more optimal for knowledge-based learning opportunities.

Tip No. 2) Conduct empathy interviews.

L&D trends may come and go, but empathy will always be relevant. It’s important to not just talk to the stakeholders and decision-makers involved in training, but also to the learners. Often times, learners may have a different perspective than stakeholders and subject matter experts (SMEs). To help design thoughtful and learner-centric experiences, learning leaders should conduct empathy interviews.

Empathy interviews can help when conducting a needs analysis. They allow learning leaders to place themselves in the learners’ shoes and understand their expectations and perception of learning. This research is essential to discovering areas of improvement and how to design learning to align with their workflow.

Consider this example: Let’s say you are in your basement fixing a pipe. You are stuck and need help. Do you want to stop what you are doing, get up and go to the attic to find a how-to manual to finish the task? No. You want the answers to your questions right there next to you so that you can access them quickly and finish your tasks seamlessly.

Tip No. 3) Make learning accessible.

Now that you understand the learning modality, expectations and workflow, you need to make training accessible. Break the learning up into small chunks of singular learning objectives and tag it so it’s accessible at their moment of need.

Consider this scenario:

You are a learning leader at a hospitality company launching a brand-new, hip hotel focused on building connections with their guests. There are new hires to onboard, however you don’t want to take them away from connecting with guests and their new role. Instead, you want to bring the training to them, integrated into their daily work, while supporting the hotel’s brand and values.

This was a challenge SweetRush took on with one of its longtime clients. Delivered on their phones through a web app in short bursts of just-in-time learning, quizzes, reminders and QR codes, learners were onboarded within the flow of their work and never taken away from the people they should be connecting with: their guests.

Tip No. 4) Pay the knowledge forward.

Who better to create performance support for learners than … other learners? For example, SweetRush harnessed their learners’ brainpower for a manager training program. For the pilot run, the first learner group created performance support tools for themselves, which were shared with learners in the program’s next session.

Learners in the next session then reviewed and improved the performance support tools from the previous session, creating a cycle of user-generated content. This democratic model of performance support is created by learners for learners. It benefits those in the initial session as they document what they learned and put it into practice, and the learners in the next (and subsequent) sessions will improve upon the tools.

Key Takeaways

When integrating learning into your employees’ workflow, remember to follow these four tips:

  • Identify if the desired change is procedural or knowledge based.
  • Conduct empathy interviews to understand learners’ expectations and workflow.
  • Ensure training is readily accessible in the flow of work.
  • Harness your learners’ brainpower with user-generated content.

With these tips in mind, you are well on your way to creating impactful just-in-time learning that boosts performance without disrupting employees’ workday. Your learners will thank you, and so will your organization. It’s a win-win-win!