By Bob Mosher
Why? Because the next big change strikes at the heart of how we’ve defined ourselves since our inception. You see, even with the transformational modalities and tools I’ve described above, the locus of control was still squarely in our domain. We were still creating a learning solution that was a training-first deliverable. It focused more on knowledge and skill gain, than on workflow application. Clearly, we HOPED that some type of transfer occurred, but the journey started with our deliverables, were created and maintained in our design shops, and were delivered via our platforms and trainers, be them live or digital. Those times are about to change dramatically, if they haven’t already. The question is are we ready?
With the new emerging design methodologies, technologies, and learners Workflow Learning is the brave new frontier. What is workflow learning? It’s when learning and support solutions are designed to begin on the job and WHILE the learner is doing their job. Notice the emphasis on the word while! Many of you may say that this is what e-learning enabled? Not exactly. Tools like e-learning made learning available IN the workflow, but the learner still needs to leave the their work to consume it, even if they are still sitting in front of their computer. Leaving work isn’t always a physical thing. I can still be sitting at my desk but required to mentally leave my work to find and consume a learning or support asset. In true Workflow Learning, that doesn’t happen. When the “lesson” is over, work is also completed.
There are a number of things driving this change. The first, and most important, is the learner. They come from a world, thanks to technologies like smartphones, where learning and support are at their fingertips and consumed in the flow of life. This has created an expectation that learning programs found at work will be equally as intrinsic. It has created a much more independent and inspired learner. One that has little patience to wait for, or leave work, for training.
The second, is the technology. There have been a number of remarkable breakthroughs in learning technologies that make Workflow Learning a reality, and there’s no sign of this slowing down any time soon. Here are a few to watch:
And finally, the third is methodology. Agile Instructional Design is here to stay. Waterfall approaches just can’t keep up with the rapid change of work, and the demands of the learner described above. It’s time we take a good hard look at our dated design approaches and let many of them go.
One of my favorite quotes is by a gentleman named Denis Pombrant, “Change is difficult. It’s hard, and people avoid it when we can, but change eventually happens when the consequences of standing still look worse than the consequences of taking a chance on change. … It’s time for all of us to change -- standing still is not an option, and we can only imagine the disruptions ahead.”