ATD Blog

Learning in the Flow of Work: Critical Components and Required Resources

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

In this blog series by ATD’s CTDO Next consortium, we examine the many facets of learning in the flow of work to summarize our insights, experiences, and recommendations about workflow learning. If you haven’t yet, check out the first and second blog posts in this series before continuing.

Assessing Workflow Learning Readiness

There are several key aspects of learning in the flow of work that many talent development leaders do not consider until they are knee-deep in implementing a workflow learning solution. Consider which of the following your organization does well and which you might need to focus on in the new year.

On-Demand Access: Learning resources and materials are easily accessible and available when needed. This can include digital resources, job aids, knowledge repositories, online communities, or expert networks.

Integrated Tools and Systems: Learning is integrated into the tools and systems that employees use daily. Learning modules or tutorials can be embedded within software applications, or learning content can be delivered through messaging platforms or collaboration tools.

Microlearning and Bite-Sized Content: Learning content is often delivered in small, digestible units, making it easier for employees to consume and apply immediately. Microlearning can take the form of short videos, infographics, quizzes, or interactive modules that provide focused information and support specific learning objectives.

Continuous Feedback and Assessment: Regular feedback and assessment mechanisms are put in place to support ongoing learning and development. This can include peer feedback, self-assessment tools, performance evaluations, or gamified learning experiences that provide immediate feedback and encourage continuous improvement.

Bite-Sized Content: Microlearning involves delivering information in small, easily digestible units. The content should be concise and focused on specific learning objectives. By breaking down complex topics into bite-sized modules, learners can absorb information more effectively and retain it for longer periods.

Relevance and Context: Microlearning should be relevant to the learner’s immediate needs and context. It should address specific challenges or tasks they encounter in their work. By providing practical and applicable knowledge, microlearning enhances its value and applicability to real-world situations.

Accessibility and Convenience: Microlearning should be easily accessible to learners whenever and wherever they need it. It can be delivered through various formats, such as videos, infographics, quizzes, or interactive modules that can be accessed on multiple devices, including smartphones and tablets.


Engagement and Interactivity: To capture learners’ attention and enhance comprehension, microlearning should be designed to be engaging and interactive. This can include elements like quizzes, simulations, case studies, or short scenarios that require active participation.

Interactive components promote active learning, improve knowledge retention, and increase learner engagement.

Progression and Mastery: Microlearning modules can be sequenced to create a learning path or progression. Each module builds upon previous knowledge, allowing learners to gradually master a topic. By structuring microlearning content in a logical sequence, learners can develop a comprehensive understanding of a subject over time.

Reinforcement and Application: Microlearning can be reinforced by providing opportunities for learners to apply their knowledge in practical scenarios. This can be achieved through simulations, gamified elements, or real-world assignments. Reinforcing learning through application helps solidify knowledge and skills and promotes transferability to the workplace.

Personalization and Adaptability: Microlearning can be personalized to cater to individual learning preferences and needs. Learners can choose modules based on their interests or skill gaps, allowing them to take ownership of their learning journey. Additionally, microlearning should be adaptable, allowing learners to progress at their own pace and revisit modules as needed.

Analytics and Feedback: Tracking learner progress and collecting feedback through analytics can provide valuable insights. Organizations can identify trends, measure the effectiveness of microlearning initiatives, and make data-driven decisions to improve future content and delivery methods.


Technologies That Enable Workflow Learning

The specific technologies required to support learning in the flow of work may vary depending on the organization’s size, industry, and learning objectives. The key is to leverage technologies that facilitate easy access to relevant learning resources, promote collaboration and knowledge sharing, and seamlessly integrate with the existing workflow and systems used within the organization.

Does your organization have these tools at the ready?

  • Learning Management Systems (LMS): An LMS provides a platform for organizing, delivering, and tracking learning content and activities. It allows employees to access learning resources, such as online courses, videos, and assessments, at their convenience. An LMS can integrate with other systems and tools used in the workplace to seamlessly deliver learning content within the workflow.
  • Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs): LXPs are platforms that focus on personalized and learner-centric experiences. They provide recommendations, content curation, and social learning features that align with the specific needs and preferences of individual learners. LXPs can help deliver learning content in a contextualized manner, enabling employees to access relevant resources aligned with their specific work requirements.
  • Mobile Learning Applications: Mobile apps enable employees to access learning content on their smartphones or tablets, allowing learning to happen anytime and anywhere. Mobile learning apps can provide on-the-go access to microlearning modules, job aids, videos, and other resources that support learning in the flow of work.
  • Knowledge Management Systems: Knowledge management systems capture, organize, and distribute knowledge within an organization. They serve as repositories for best practices, expert insights, and reference materials. By making these knowledge resources easily accessible and searchable, employees can access relevant information at the point of need to support their learning in real time. Knowledge repositories serve as centralized repositories of information and resources. These repositories can include documents, manuals, policies, procedures, best practices, case studies, and other reference materials that employees can access when needed. Knowledge repositories should be well-organized, searchable, and easily accessible, allowing employees to quickly find and access relevant information to support their learning in the flow of work.
  • Collaboration and Communication Tools: Platforms such as project management tools, instant messaging apps, and video conferencing software facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing among employees. These tools enable employees to connect, discuss ideas, seek feedback, and learn from each other, fostering a culture of continuous learning.
  • Performance Support Tools: Performance support tools provide on-demand assistance and guidance to employees while they perform specific tasks. These tools can be in the form of interactive job aids, contextual help systems, or virtual assistants that provide step-by-step instructions, troubleshooting guidance, or access to relevant resources, all within the flow of work.
  • Digital Learning Content: Digital learning content encompasses a variety of resources, such as online courses, videos, tutorials, job aids, infographics, podcasts, and interactive modules. This content should be designed to address specific learning objectives and be easily accessible on various devices. It should be modular, allowing employees to consume and apply knowledge in bite-sized portions as they encounter specific challenges or tasks in their work.

Additional Resources to Consider

As has always been the case for training, learning in the flow of work relies on subject matter experts (SMEs). They play a crucial role in supporting learning in the flow of work by providing guidance, answering questions, and sharing their insights with employees. SMEs can be internal experts within the organization or external consultants and mentors who can offer valuable expertise and perspectives to support ongoing learning.

Analytics tools and the people who use them can help track and analyze learning activities, engagement, and performance. By collecting data on how employees interact with learning content and resources, organizations can gain insights into the effectiveness and impact of learning initiatives. These insights can inform the continuous improvement of learning experiences and content.

And perhaps the biggest resource is leadership. When leaders prioritize and support continuous learning, it sets the tone for the entire organization. An organizational culture that values learning encourages knowledge sharing, and supports experimentation creates an environment where learning in the flow of work can thrive.

By ensuring the availability and accessibility of these critical resources, organizations can create a conducive learning ecosystem that supports employees in acquiring knowledge, developing skills, and applying their learning within their day-to-day work.

About the Author

CTDO Next is ATD’s premier membership for talent development executives who want to shape the future of the profession. This network of global learning leaders is passionate about transformations that affect the field. Through the work of CTDO Next, members explore a variety of forward-focused topics with the goal to take a position and lead the profession. Learn more at

Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.