Learning in the Flow of Work: The Time is Now - blog-covid19-14-woman-working-laptop-book-plant
  • Mark Williamson, Partner |

Organisations have had to rapidly pivot towards virtual learning in recent months. Better integrating learning into an individual’s work life has perhaps been an unexpected positive outcome of this shift. Organisations have an opportunity to capitalise on this, and fully embed a new approach to learning. In my view, ‘learning in the flow of work’ has huge potential to further enhance the productivity of learning – and improve learner satisfaction.

Learning in the flow of work is about providing learners with the right content, at the right time, in the right format. It takes learning out of the (virtual) classroom and makes it a seamless part of everyday work. Above all, it’s about personalisation – allowing individuals to strengthen their capabilities when and where they need to.

This approach delivers a wide range of benefits in terms of relevance, tailoring, efficiency and adaptability. In doing so, it helps banks to improve the impact of their training. And by giving learners greater control, it makes learning a more empowering and motivational experience.

So far, so good. But how can banks make learning in the flow of work a reality? The good news is that technology can provide targeted support. Technology has the potential to:

Curate and distil learning content

AI can already curate content from a wide range of internal and external sources. As well as hunting out the best material, AI can present it in a way that best reflects learners’ prior experiences.

Personalise learning

AI tools that go beyond curation to generate tailored learning content are starting to appear. These can use data on individuals’ capability needs to identify areas for improvement and deliver targeted enhancements.

Improve learner interfaces

Voice recognition technology has already reduced the need for keyboards. It has further potential to make the delivery of learning quicker and more flexible.

Integrate learning into the workplace

The adoption of collaborative platforms such as Office 365 is making it easier to integrate learning options into the workplace. The same trend also enhances productivity by boosting learning collaboration between individuals, teams and functions.

Harness the power of social learning

Interaction and collaboration is vital to the digital workplace. Creating social groups of colleagues with shared interests or expertise helps to enhance knowledge-sharing and foster the creation of learner-generated content.

Several banks are already exploring these ideas. Even so, most are less advanced, and few have embraced them all. Banks seeking a cutting-edge approach to learning should make a co-ordinated effort to pull ideas like these together and integrate them into the digital workplace. That will making it quicker and easier for colleagues to identify and carry out tailored, self-directed learning.

Achieving this goal will not be easy. Banks will need to strike a balance with the new world of live virtual learning, which will remain valuable. They will need to ensure they can still meet regulatory requirements. Above all, many organisations will need to go on a cultural journey to fully embrace radically new ways of creating and delivering learning.

Even so, I believe that the benefits of learning in the flow of work will more than outweigh the effort required to overcome these hurdles. Progress towards embedding a digital workplace has accelerated in recent months. I would therefore encourage banks to embrace the technology that already exists and the recent progress they have made and begin trialling new learning approaches. Once they see the results, they’re unlikely to look back.

Look out for part 2 in this series, which will explore how this ‘silent revolution’ has the power to remove the barriers to learning.