MWL 2021: Re-thinking learning technologies

This is a page of the first FREE section of the MWL 2021 resource. You can purchase access to the full resource HERE

<< 1 – INTRODUCTION TO MODERN WORKPLACE LEARNING


In 2021 L&D will largely remain a virtual function. What does this mean for the tools you will need to fulfil this function? An article in CMS Wire, 6 Learning and Development Practices for a Distributed Workforce, makes this important point:

“Effective virtual L&D does not have to involve expensive AI tools, adaptive learning features or immersive VR environment”

In other words, there is no need for shiny new learning platforms, rather it will be more about making good and effective use of the tools you already have in house.

Traditionally, so-called “learning technologies” have underpinned the formal, training approach to learning, in particular a Learning Management System has been seen as the hub of enterprise learning. But, for 2021 organisations will need to think in terms of an ecosystem of interconnected platforms and tools that underpin all formal and informal learning.


At the heart of modern workplace learning is not an LMS or other learning platform but an organisation’s social and collaboration platform, like Microsoft Teams or Slack. Whereas Microsoft now has its own workplace ecosystem with Teams, Yammer, SharePoint, One Note, Office, – and is introducing Viva to bring tools for employee engagement, learning, wellbeing and knowledge discovery, directly into the flow of people’s work, Slack integrates with many other 3rd party technologies.

Using your enterprise collaboration platform as the centre of technological ecosystem means that individuals can learn with and from one another in the very same way (and platform) that they do for working.  It also brings a number of other significant advantages:

  • It means that your thinking about “learning” is not constrained by a dedicated learning platform that perpetuates the traditional course approach. In other words using a social and collaboration platform lets you think differently not just about what you do but how you measure the success of your learning initiatives. That is, it helps to think in terms of performance outcomes – i.e. what individuals need to be able to do as a result – rather than on learning outcomes or course completions.
  • It means you can start from a position of thinking about the people in your organisation and how you can encourage connections and engagement between them – rather than focusing on the content.
  • It means that all the knowledge and experiences shared in more structured events are not locked away in a separate learning platform.
  • It means that it’s not just about internal experts telling people what they should do or know, but about peers sharing their thoughts and experiences, and learning from one another.
  • It means that conversations can continue more easily after a training event, in the workflow, and this supports the transition of learning communities to communities of practice.
  • It means that “learning” is no longer seen as a separate activity from working; and that for the first time it can be truly become a continuous, social experience in the workflow.

So, when it comes to providing training and/or supporting learning across the organisation, you need to make good use of your existing platforms and tools. This means that enterprise work platforms should be used as much as possible to host and support workplace learning initiatives rather than dedicated learning platforms. In this way by integrating modern training initiatives within work based platforms you will be helping to ensure that learning and working are seen as inseparable partners. This way learning is truly integrated within work.


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Last updated: February 11, 2021 at 15:49 pm