According to many experts, the future of education lies in this next step: adopting workplace learning. Workplace learning can take different shapes and forms, from informal and anecdotal learning, to formal learning and official assessments. Workplace learning may seem a buzzword, but in reality it really is the leading answer to a traditional learning landscape that doesn’t fit with current learning demands anymore.

Why is that? Because personnel and education budgets are under pressure; professionals are expected to have up-to-date knowledge but equally have less and less time to step away from their work for formal training. Therefore, learning needs to be integrated into the primary process.

While this sounds like a major turnaround in L&D land, it may be simpler than you might expect. That’s why I came up with a practical list for you and your organization to get (more) excited about implementing workplace learning.

1.   Set the example and inspire your colleagues

If you’re looking at implementing workplace learning, you need to practice what you preach. You’re probably doing more than you think in terms of workplace learning. Write down which ways of informal learning you do on a day-to-day basis and share the benefits of your learning with your colleagues. This’ll spark their enthusiasm! Then, invite them to talk about their learning needs and to analyze how these can be met.

2.   Provide insights and support professionals in developing new skills

Insight into their own learning preferences can really make a difference for professionals. Equally, showing the effectiveness of their learning activities will also improve their ability to recognize the right way of learning for a specific learning need.

Workplace learning sounds like learning but often doesn’t feel like it. It’s up to you, their employer or learning advocate, to show them how to shape and arrange the learning means best suited for them. A personalized RSS feed with relevant blogs and articles is an excellent example of a relatively easy tool – but many employees are unaware of it or daunted by installing this. Other examples include internal learning communities or forums (online or offline), and checklists.

Ultimately, you’d want to translate all of this and the lessons learned into learning analytics to provide insights to everyone.

3.   Create new ways of learning

New ways of learning aren’t necessarily disruptive: peer-to-peer coaching and feedback sessions have been with us for ages. But we’ve just never branded them ‘learning sessions’. It’s all about perception. However, it’s very possible that in your organization, these sessions only happen sporadically. Think about training team leads and actively supporting them in their role as coach on the job – and find smart technology to help you and your team leads.And here is some good inspiration!

On demand learning is new to most organizations. Performance support helps professionals find answers relating to: “what was it again”, “something has changed” or “something went wrong”. Because performance support provides an answer quickly, it’s efficient for the primary process and effective in terms of learning. It’s definitely worth looking at performance support tools.

Another newby is an internal video channel with vlogs from colleagues. It works like YouTube and is therefore easy to use and fill. Because your video channel is internal, professionals will be more likely to post a quick ‘how-to’ video or a short video blog with tips. They may need a bit of encouragement, but that’s where you come in!

4.   Deal with performance issues

And no, by ‘performance’ in this sense I don’t mean ‘IT’… Think about how to adapt your work processes to your new preferred way of working. Is it SCRUM that you would like to adopt? Or would you like to work with customer-facing teams instead of the traditional pillars? A change in how you want to work, needs to be embedded in the whole organization, in all teams and in all individuals – otherwise no-one will benefit. Don’t underestimate the time, meetings or other effort it may cost you, but enjoy the process and look at the small steps taken after each milestone!

5.   Be the advocate

Keep sharing your tips and tricks, and your learnings throughout this process and beyond. Join the social learning community, have informal chats with people from all levels. Invite colleagues to share their (success) stories. Encourage the champions who will – no doubt – step forward during the process. Be a learning organization!

Interested in the future of lifelong learning in healthcare? Join @Jaco van der Worp and myself at our session at the World of Health Care conference on September 27 in Rotterdam. @WoHC2018 @Task Force Health Care https://www.wohc.nl/time-table/#event-9. Or just send Jaco or me a PM to get in touch!