What is ‘learning in the flow of work’ and why is it beneficial?

February 21, 2023by Editor

As we enter the Exponential Age, where everything is accelerating at a rapid pace, workers need to upskill to keep up with changes in the global business environment. Dusting off their notebooks and sharpening their pencils, for many employees it has been several years since they sat down to actively learn something new. 

Global pressures to stay professionally relevant means that nearly a billion people are taking part in the reskilling revolution. Supporting employees while they step out of their comfort zones to refresh and refine their skills, businesses are setting up training programs based on the concept of ‘learning in the flow of work’. 

What is ‘learning in the flow of work’?

Josh Bersin originally introduced the concept in 2018 and, since then, it has gained massive traction among learning designers and corporate training professionals. The idea is that learning should be embedded into the workflow and be accessible to employees when they need it. This can be done through providing learning resources within the context of the workflow, such as micro-learning tools, video tutorials and searchable databases. 

Technology has become an enabler, with digital tools making it easier to integrate on-the-job learning aids. Employees are able to quickly access the right information or learning material while they are working. Learning in the flow of work is all about providing employees with the right resources, in the right place, at the right time. This enables them to be more productive and effective in their roles.

What are the business benefits of ‘learning in the flow of work’?

Having access to the right tools and knowledge (at the right time) makes the learning journey immediately relevant and useful. Employees stay engaged and up-to-date on the latest developments in their field. 

This approach to professional development can help reduce the time it takes to learn something new, allowing employees to get up to speed and become productive more quickly. This serves to improve efficiency, which translates to improved business performance. 

Learning in the flow of work allows employees to quickly solve problems and improve how they perform their jobs. By having the right information readily available, they are able to quickly apply new knowledge and skills to their work without having to take time out of their day to search for it. 

Traditional training programs can be very time intensive, requiring employees to leave their desks to attend workshops or seminars. With learning in the flow of work, upskilling happens on the job during a normal workday. 

Apart from saving time, on-the-job training is generally less expensive to roll out than other forms of formal training. In-person training workshops, for example, require businesses to spend money on a venue and a trainer, while also paying staff to attend. 

By outsourcing to instructional designers and change management specialists, businesses can draw on the expertise of others to implement tailored training based on the concept of learning in the flow of work.

What are the benefits for employees?

Learning in the flow of work generally leads to greater job satisfaction and improved morale among employees. Businesses empower employees to take charge of their learning by being able to quickly access learning aids when they are needed. 

Self-directed learning is highly motivating as learners can choose what to learn, when to learn it, and how much time to spend doing so. Employees become accountable for their own professional development. 

Learning in the flow of work offers increased employee engagement and improved motivation. This which help to support employee retention and development. As the learning material is immediately relevant, employees can put it into practice as they learn, which improves knowledge and skill retention. 

Is your company ready for the future of jobs?

The global workforce is preparing for tomorrow’s economy. Companies need to ensure their staff have the skills needed to adapt to new ways of working. In the World Economic Forum’s 2022 session on the Future of Jobs, discussions included the need for new skills and competencies, the potential for automation and how to ensure a fair transition for workers who may be displaced by digital and technological changes. 

To promote digital adoption flow in the workplace, it is important to provide employees with the right tools, resources and training. This ensures they can make the most of what is available to them. Learning in the flow of work does just this. 

This approach creates learning paths for each employee, provides incentives for learning. It ensures that learning is integrated into the daily process of work. By creating a culture of learning and experimentation, employees are more likely to successfully adopt new technologies and skills. 

Can!do offers capability development and bespoke training programmes for South African enterprises. Using principles such as learning in the flow of work, we create effective learning experiences for employees aimed at performance optimisation. Through our change management training, South Africa can stay abreast of the latest trends in talent development. For more information about our services, please contact us today.


Can!do works with large enterprises in South Africa to maximise the value of their employees, technology and business processes. To do this, we offer three fundamental services; change management, capability development and performance optimisation

We have 30 years of experience in these fields and have worked with leading companies in South Africa. We are a certified Level 2 B-BBEE company and a leading provider of new business systems and processes that drive user adoption. For industry insights and news, please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.


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