Learning in a Connected Workplace: But connected to what, exactly?

5 May

Workplace learning. If your mind fills with images of shuffling off to a conference room to “do the training,” you share the attitude of a large share of learners, I’m afraid. Luckily for us, we’re e-learning folks, so we know better. Learners don’t have to shuffle anywhere anymore. They can “do the training” right at their desk.


If we are satisfied with delivering e-learning courses, 2004 called and wants it’s training program back. If we rely solely on delivered courses, we are losing ground and selling our learners, organizations, and ourselves short. E-learning is great (or should be), and it’s not going anywhere. However, we have to think beyond e-learning development to become true instructional design and adult learning facilitators. You know all too well the two major shifts of the last decade:

  • Information now streams at your learners’ fingertips, constantly on and maddeningly (and wonderfully) distracting.
  • Work is no longer only task-driven, but also learning- and innovation-driven.

That software training you’re working on? Or leadership training? Sales training? Compliance training? You-name-it training? Someone else has already created it, probably better, whether it’s off the shelf or up on Lynda.com. Not only that, there are Twitter hashtags and Facebook threads and meme jokes and outright snarkiness out there about your very topic. And here’s the irony: You want the kind of learners who will find it! They are engaged and curious, and they have at least enough initiative to forward a funny poster. The capacity for nearly anyone to find information on nearly anything is inspiring and horrifying. Our job as learning professionals is to help people harness the flow, teaching them how to evaluate, store, share, and use what they find.

Which leads to the second point: Learning is not a separate part of the calendar, or even a set-aside part of the day.

LEAP Ahead Conference: Portland, Ore., June 25-26

LEAP Ahead Conference: Portland, Ore., June 25-26

Modern working is learning. The latest headlines, industry trends, job tools, and data points are essential to helping workers succeed in almost any industry. We’re all knowledge workers now, and to be a knowledge worker is to be a constantly learning worker. If we fail to learn and convert that learning into innovation, not just as an organization but as individuals, we’re being left behind by those who do.

The same is all too true for those of us in the e-learning game. What have we been learning? What innovations are we implementing? And how are we sharing it? Let’s find out! Join me as we dive into this topic at LEAP Ahead in Portland next month.

4 Responses to “Learning in a Connected Workplace: But connected to what, exactly?”


  1. EDUC6115 Blog 1 | cauerblog - May 11, 2014

    […] the learning age (https://inthelearningage.com/2014/05/05/learning-in-a-connected-workplace-but-connected-to-what-exact&#8230😉 blog on learning in a connected workplace challenges the satisfaction of simply delivering […]

  2. Learning Is Our Job… it’s not just me (or us). | In the Learning Age - June 11, 2014

    […] becoming a mantra beyond the domain of PD/L&D/ID/ELP/SPOTDA* folks. As I’ve argued before in several places, our jobs are to keep learning. Very few of us have a job or career that spans more than a […]

  3. Learning and Schrodinger’s Cat: Bringing content back from obsolescence | In the Learning Age - October 10, 2014

    […] As I’ve discussed before, learning practitioners should embed learning activities into the work (aka, performance support), and reciprocally direct work activities and social connections into training activities and eLearning courses. If not, we run the danger of creating altered perceptions in our learners’ minds: “Oh yeah, that’s the training way, but in the real world…” Yes, as soon as we observe it as something other than what it is (our work!), we evaluate and apply the content differently, too. […]

  4. e-Liberate! Shall we agree to lose the e? | In the Learning Age - November 25, 2014

    […] I’ve argued on several occasions, learning is our job, and we all are swimmers in the vast digital sea. Whatever eLearning means to […]

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