Modern Workplace Learning: New work for L&D

Building and supporting a continuous learning environment involves 3 areas of work for L&D as shown on the diagram below.

These three areas of work can be broken down into a number of specific items which will be considered in further sections of this resource:


  • Promoting continuous independent learning – helping managers understand the business rationale and individuals the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) for continuous self-learning
  • Encouraging daily self-learning – helping individuals establish a daily learning habit so that they can continuously improve or develop themselves in the way(s) that best suit their needs and interests, which may mean providing them with any necessary modern learning skills to do so,. This area of work might well be kickstarted by a learning campaign which takes place over an extended period of time and provides a mix of resources that are sequenced to be released throughout the campaign rather than all at once
  • Adopting a formal process of continuous self-development – helping individuals take more responsibility for their own development using a documented process of performance goal setting and then evidencing the achievement of their goals which is a clear part of an L&D strategy.
  • Providing opportunities for continuous planned learning – supporting the continuous learning needs and interests of their people in different ways, e.g. offering daily micro-training where short pieces of content are delivered on a daily basis, or coordinating an ongoing series of events and activities These types of opportunities might be internally created or curated from external sources.


  • Supporting job performance in the flow of work – providing, where appropriate, flexible resources that can be used for multiple purposes – on demand learning, reference, etc, and which can be personalised, ie used in the way that best suits the individual. These performance support resources will then need to be freely available on organisational platforms (intranets, team platforms etc) so that it is embedded in the workflow (rather than locked away in a LMS).
  • Encouraging reflective practices – helping individuals take time to reflect on their daily work experiences and what they have learned from them. After all we don’t learn from experience but by reflecting on experience. 
  • Supporting social learning and collaboration in the workplace – knowledge sharing needs to be an integral part of daily work. Whilst much of this might take place through conversations and other informal settings, a social collaboration platform (like Slack or MS Teams) is very useful as a way of underpinning team knowledge sharing. However, employees often need help to share  effectively, so this might be kickstarted and supported through guided social learning experiences (ie semi-structured discussions) or through the facilitation of Communities of Practice.
  • Helping managers with on the job development – learning by doing is not just about doing the day job, but coming out of one’s comfort zone and taking on assignments that stretch an individual and help them to acquire new skills and knowledge. L&D can therefore not just provide appropriate experiential learning activities but also help managers identify opportunities for learning on the job in other informal ways.


  • Facilitating problem solving and innovation – working with managers and their teams to address ad hoc performance problems and helping them identify the most appropriate solution to their own problem. This work might be undertaken through a formal process of performance improvement consulting, or more informally by facilitating collaborative problem solving workshops,  world cafés and hackathons.
  • Providing modern interventions to learning problems – as appropriate and required – providing modern interventions that address the issues employees may have with classroom training and e-learning, for example, by facilitating collaborative workshops or using new technologies (like Virtual and Augmented Reality) to provide new ways of training for work tasks.

From Directed to Self-Directed Learning: The role of L&D in supporting autonomy at work

Last updated: December 7, 2019 at 12:18 pm