Workplace learning. If your mind fills with images of shuffling off to a conference room to “do the training,” you share the same attitude as a large population of learners, I’m afraid. Luckily, we’re eLearning folks, so we know better. Learners don’t have to shuffle anywhere anymore. They can “do the training” right at their desk or even on the go with a mobile device.

But, if we are satisfied with delivering eLearning courses, we are losing ground and selling our learners, organizations, and ourselves short. eLearning courses, even really good ones, are no longer sufficient. eLearning is great (or should be), and it’s not going anywhere. However, we have to think beyond eLearning 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 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. And probably better; whether it’s off the shelf or up on 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. 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 eLearning game. What have we been learning? What innovations are we implementing? And how are we sharing it? Let’s find out! I’m looking forward to diving into this topic at LEAP Ahead eLearning Conference in Portland in June. 


Photo credit: Chris Preen on Flickr



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