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Member Benefit

Learning in the Flow of Work

Published Mon Feb 27 2023

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If you ask most workers how frequently they learn at work, they generally characterize learning as an occasional or infrequent occurrence. When they’re asked the last time they learned something, they often refer to their most recent training. For most people, learning is something formal and passive. This mental model downplays the importance of learning during the flow of work—where learning is so embedded in day-to-day routines that it isn’t even recognized as such. How can managers facilitate and draw attention to this type of learning? First, acknowledge it, and call it out by name. Mistakes are a great opportunity for this. When people make mistakes, they should learn from them. Use moments where things didn’t go according to plan to understand what happened and think through how to improve. Informal feedback can also be a tool for facilitating learning in flow. Point out what’s going well and think through how employees’ potential can be stretched. Experimentation is another way to activate this learning. Pitch a new idea, prototype how it could happen, and pilot to test its effectiveness. Frame the exercise as a learning opportunity and see what happens.

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