Company training/e-learning is the least valued way of learning at work: what does this mean for L&D?



I have been running the Learning in the Workplace survey for 5 years now, and after over 5,000 responses from 63 countries worldwide the results are clear: Company training is the least valued way of learning in the workplace. In this article I want to look at what the survey tells us and what the results mean for L&D departments.

About the survey

The survey asks respondents to rate the following 10 ways of learning in the workplace  – as “Not important (NI)”, “Quite important (QI)”, “Very Important (VI)” or “Essential (Es)”.

  • Company training/e-learning
  • Self-directed study of external courses
  • Internal company documents
  • Job aids
  • Knowledge sharing within your team
  • General conversation and meetings with people
  • Personal and professional networks and communities
  • External blogs and news feeds
  • Content curated from external sources
  • Web search for resources (e.g. using Google)

The survey results

The latest  results of the survey are as follows. They are ranked by their combined Very Important + Essential percentages. The pink shaded areas  highlight where the most responses have been received.

ways of learning NI QI VI Es VI+Es
1 Knowledge sharing within team 2 10 30 58 88
2 Web search 3 17 32 48 80
3 General conversations 2 19 40 39 79
4 Networks & communities 3 23 39 35 74
5 Blog & news feeds 12 31 35 22 57
6 Curated content 9 35 36 20 56
7 Self-directed study 13 35 35 17 52
8 Company docs 13 38 31 18 49
9 Job aids 18 37 30 15 45
10 Company training/e-learning 21 39 23 17 40

Right at the bottom of the ranking lies company training/e-learning with only 40% of respondent believing it to be very important or essential. But is this the case for everyone?

Analysis by age

It is often said that formal training appeals more to older workers than it does to younger ones. However, the data suggests that younger workers actually value training and e-learning more than older workers.

Age group NI QI VI Es VI+Es
under 30 13 35 31 20 51
31-40 20 40 23 16 39
41-50 21 39 23 17 40
overall 21 39 23 17 40
51-60 22 40 21 17 38
over 60 31 36 24 9 33

The most valued way of learning at work is Knowledge sharing within your team, so which age group(s) does this appeal to? Interestingly, once again it is the youngest workers who value this most, whilst older workers value it least.

Age group NI QI VI Es VI+Es
under 30 0 5 31 65 96
31-40 1 9 27 62 89
overall 2 10 30 58 88
41-50 1 10 31 57 88
51-60 2 12 31 55 86
over 60 5 13 29 54 83

So if we compare the profile of the youngest and the oldest workers –  i.e. how they ranked the 10 ways of learning relative to the overall profile (shown in brackets in the table below) –  this is what we find.

Under 30s Over 60s
  1. Knowledge sharing 96 (1)
  2. Conversations 91 (3)
  3. Web search 77 (2)
  4. Blog feeds 69 (5)
  5. Prof networks 66 (4)
  6. Company docs 52 (8)
  7. Company training 51 (10)
  8. Self-directed 50 (7)
  9. Curated content 48 (6)
  10. Job aids 43 (9)
  1. Web search 86 (2)
  2. Knowledge sharing 83 (1)
  3. Prof networks 80 (4)
  4. Conversations 79 (3)
  5. Curated content 69 (6)
  6. Blog feeds 64 (5)
  7. Company docs 50 (8)
  8. Self-directed 47 (7)
  9. Job aids 39 (9)
  10. Company training 33 (10)

What this means for L&D

Although there are a few interesting generational differences, these are certainly not significant enough to stereotype generational preferences – but there is one  thing we need to keep sight of  in all this – and that is everyone is different.  But it is also clear from the results that  informal, social as well as self-organised approaches are now the preferred means of learning for many, so this would suggest the need for L&D to adopt a new set of workplace learning practices that

  1. focus less on the creation of top-down content (courses and resources) using a  “one-size fits all” approach, and instead offer flexible, on demand content and collaborative activities that allow individuals to have a personal(ised) learning experience
  2. focus more on supporting the informal, social learning practices that take place in teams, projects and across the enterprise, and also
  3. focus more on supporting self-organised workers and the development of their own personal learning strategies.

Analysis by country

Finally, what about different countries – are they all culturally ready for new approaches to workplace learning?

The table below shows how participants value training based on the country they live in. Whereas it can be seen that there are a number of countries where training is more highly valued than the overall profile (and some in particular do still have a strong training culture), there are others where it is less valued. It is in these countries that we are seeing a  shift in how workers are learning differently for and at work, so it is in these countries that employees are likely to be ready for modern workplace learning practices.

Country (% of voters)
Es V+Es Rank
Ireland (1%)  33 50 13 4  17
New Zealand (2%)  19 59 15 7  22
Canada (7%)  24 43 18 15  33
UK (19%)  23 42 23 13  36
Germany (4%)  18 44 27 11  38
Australia (10%)  17 45 23 15  38
USA (29%)  25 37 23 15  38
overall  21 39 23 17  40
Finland (1%)  32 38 15 15  30
France (1%)  23 46 19 12  32
Netherlands (3%)  28 38 19 13  32
Switzerland (2%)  22 34 33 11  44
Belgium (2%)  9 43 29 20  49
Spain (2%) 18 39 29 14  43
Brazil (1%) 29 14 14 43  54
South Africa (1%) 10 23 24 43  67
China (1%) 14 29 14 43  57
India (5%) 4 29 19 46  65

Beyond Training – The Importance of Workwide Learning

There is a lot of talk about lifelong learning – but most of it focuses on lifelong education – that is continuously taking courses throughout your life. For instance, the recent Economist article, Lifelong learning is becoming an economic imperative, explained how “Technological change demands stronger and more continuous connections between education and employment”.

This article makes an important point, but lifelong education is only part of the answer. Rather than talk about lifelong learning, what it is actually more appropriate is to talk about lifewide learning.

The education concept of lifewide learning is described at LifeWideEducation as follows …

The important characteristic of lifewide learning is that it embraces a comprehensive understanding and practice of learning, development, knowledge and knowing and achievement.  Lifewide learning includes all types of learning and personal development – learning and development in formal educational environments which is directed or self managed, and learning and development in informal (non-educational) situations. It includes learning and development that is driven by our interests and its intrinsic value, as well as our needs, and learning which just emerges during the course of our daily activity

Lifewide education embraces and recognises these forms of learning, development and achievement. It holds the promise for a more complete and holistic form of education in which people combine and integrate their learning (both formal and informal), their personal or professional development and their achievements.”

If we apply the concept of lifewide learning to the workplace, we might talk about workwide learning. So to paraphrase the second paragraph above:

Workwide learning embraces a comprehensive understanding and practice of learning, development, knowledge and knowing and achievement.  Workwide learning includes all types of learning and personal development – learning and development in formal training which is directed or self managed, and learning and development in informal (non-training) situations. It includes learning and development that is driven by our interests and its intrinsic value, as well as our needs, and learning which just emerges during the course of our daily activity.

A Workwide Learning approach that offers “a more complete and holistic form” of workplace learning is therefore more appropriate for today’s fast moving workplace, since it encourages individuals to learn for, at and through work – not just in training.

But are your people ready? Lifewide Education explains that ..

“To be a competent lifewide learner requires not only the ability to recognise and take advantage of opportunities and the will and capability to get involved, it also requires self-awareness derived from consciously thinking about and extracting meaning and significance from the experiences that populate our lives.”

When adopting a Workwide Learning approach, L&D’s role will therefore be more about enabling and supporting employees to become competent workwide learners  – rather than just designing and delivering courses and resources FOR them. This means both supporting manager-led learning and empowering employee-led learning.

5 Factors driving Modern Workplace Learning

“If you were an employee on Henry Ford’s assembly line in Detroit in the 1920s, you received a high degree of training and preparation before you ever set foot in the factory. You learned what your role was, and were given all the tools you needed to accomplish your job from Day One. From then on, your role never changed—you did your part to move a product forward along the assembly line, from the day you began until the day you retired, 40 or 50 years later. Since those days, the business world has transformed .. but the workforce training process hasn’t kept up with the pace of change.”

I believe this quote from Karl Mehta  summarizes the situation pretty accurately, and like Karl (and others) I think this means we need to adopt new practices to support learning in today’s workplace. So I in this article I want to take a look at 5 factors that are impacting the workplace and driving a new approach to workplace learning.


There has been a lot written about the effects of digitization on the workplace, as Microsoft explains

“The exponential growth of digital connectivity, devices and information is driving profound changes in the way we work, all around all the world …”

But in a business this involves far more than converting paper-based or off-line processes into online processes. And in workplace learning terms it involves far more than converting classroom training into e-learning – as Microsoft explains (my emboldening)..

“In order to survive in this world, companies need to rethink everything from culture to tools and environments.”

So L&D will also need to rethink its whole approach to workplace learning: the culture, tools and environments – by adopting a new, modern understanding of what it means to learn at work.  The second factor gives us some clues as to what that might look like.


It is increasingly clear that learning habits are changing. Individuals no longer rely on being trained as the only way to learn for work, many appreciate they learn as they do their work as well through their interactions with colleagues, clients, their manager and maybe even a coach. They also make significant use of the Web – not just to access online courses, but also a variety of resources (in different formats – particular video) as well as to build their professional networks of connections from around the world on social networks (like Twitter, LinkedIn). And in doing so they often bypass L&D to solve their learning and performance problems more quickly and more easily.

For L&D this means no longer trying to maintain the role of learning gatekeeper. Nor does it mean being the learning police – banning access to anything that hasn’t been created by them. What’s more beliefs like “our people don’t know what to learn” or we “can’t trust them to learn the right things” are no longer appropriate. A “we-know-best” attitude no longer works! In fact the recent Towards Maturity Learner’s Voice report showed that employees like to be in charge of how they learn, with 91% wanting to learn at their own pace and 82% knowing what they need to learn in order to do their job.  Laura Overton, Founder of Towards Maturity, commenting on the report, said “The message is clear: L&D teams must adapt to the needs of colleagues rather than force them to do what L&D wants them to do.”

So L&D needs to embrace these changing learning habits. But they doesn’t just mean creating courses and resources in ways that are more consistent with the ways people learn on the Web (although that’ll be part of the future). It means  actively encouraging and supporting individuals to find their own solutions to their learning and performance problems in the ways that suit them best.  This is particularlh important for the next reason.


We are now seeing a multi-generational workplace – 4 generations in the workplace for the first time. Much has been been written about the different attitudes to work and learning of each of these generations, in particular their exposure and use of new technologies. But rather than stereotyping people on generational grounds e.g. assuming that a Baby Boomer will have no interest or experience with social media whilst a Millennial will be a fully Web savvy person, or that a Baby Boomer will prefer a classroom course whilst a Millennial will prefer to watch a YouTube video – what needs to be recognized is that everyone is different, and that a one-size-fits-all (“sheep dip”) approach to training is no longer appropriate.

This doesn’t mean creating resources in multiple formats to ensure everyone’s preferences are met (a pretty impossible task) but rather supporting flexibility and autonomy so that individuals can construct their own learning experiences in the way that suits them best. And there is another good reason for this approach too.


We are now living in an era of exponential information growth. Huge amounts of data are being created every day. But what is more, the half life of a piece of knowledge today is just around 5 years. In other words, knowledge is decaying and skills are quickly going out of date. It has been said that a college degree will be out of date before the loan is paid off.

So whereas, in the past, as we have seen, individuals were trained to do their jobs once and this would last them their whole careers, over time, as job roles became more sophisticated or new technology or procedures were introduced, training became a full-time operation just to keep people knowledgeable, skilled and up to date. So this doesn’t mean L&D needs to work even harder –  creating even more training. There is a finite amount L&D can do. Rather it means adopting a new approach – one that comes from not trying to do it all themselves and controlling it all, but recognizing that everyone need to be constantly keeping themselves up to date – learning and developing new skills and expertise – in the ways that best suit them – encouraged and supported by their manager. So L&D’s role won’t be to create more stuff, but focus on helping people with the new skills many will need to learn things for themselves. And there is an additional factor influencing this …


The emerging Gig Economy means that there is no longer such a thing a job for life.-  in fact, for most individuals this means they are going to have a life of jobs. One estimate is that current students will have more than 10 jobs by the time they are 38. Companies are also going to be seeing a growing contingent workforce (made up of freelancers, independent professionals and temporary contract workers). Research from Ernst and Young shows that two in five organisations expect to increase their use of the contingent workforce by 2020.

This means that people are going to be recruited WITH the skills to do a job; not recruited AND THEN trained to do the job. So if employees want to stay in a company they will therefore need to keep their skills up to date themselves. But in fact, supporting individuals to do just this will actually be beneficial to the organisation as it will reduce the costs of recruitment, So this means helping individuals organize and manage their own professional self-development inline with organizational objectives to achieve a  new level of performance.

All this means a very different organizational learning culture from the long-standing traditional culture that exists in most workplaces. I call this Modern Workplace Learning (MWL)  and  I’ve summarised the key differences in the diagram below.

Clearly such a culture change won’t happen tonight – but there are a number of steps L&D can make to do things differently and doing different things  to help build this new world of workplace learning.  MWL doesn’t JUST mean  providing modern trainingDesigning and delivering modern content and learning experiences in line with new ways of learning on the Web but also  supporting manager-led learningworking with managers to help them value and support everyday learning both individually and in work teams and groups – as well as empowering employee-led learningHelping individuals take responsibility for their own continuous self-development aligned with organisational objectives,  and sharing their  experiences so that the organisation can benefit from it too.

[Find out more about Modern Workplace Learning in my latest book, Learning in the Modern Workplace 2017.]

The Modern Professional Learner’s Toolkit

There is a lot of interest in the behaviour of the Modern Learner, but in the context of work it is more appropriate to talk about the Modern Professional Learner. The Modern Professional Learner learns for, at and through work in many different ways – i.e. not just in formal training or e-learning, but through everyday work experiences as well as on the Web.  In doing so the Modern Professional Learner makes use of a wide variety of tools.

The diagram below shows the key tools a Modern Professional Learner might use in 12 different contexts – many of which appear on the Top 200 Tools for Learning 2016.  How many do you use for your own professional learning? How many do you support in your organisation to underpin learning in the modern workplace?

Click image to view full-size version

A Personal Learning Space lies at the heart of the Modern Professional Learner’s Toolkit. It is a privately-controlled space where an individual can organise and manage his/her own learning, by recording and reflecting on experiences wherever and however they take place – in the classroom, online, in the office, in a conference or elsewhere – as well as evidence changes and improvements in her/her performance change. (It might  be termed an ePortfolio or even a Personal LMS). Example: PebblePad

Web browsers are essential to get the most out of the Web. The most popular are Google Chrome and Firefox.

Social networks are where individuals build their own professional network (of trusted connections – from practitioners to thought leaders). Most popular are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.

Messaging apps are becoming more popular than social networks to connect with both colleague and other contacts .  Apps include Messenger and WhatsApp.

News readers let an individual subscribe to and aggregate posts from blogs and web feeds. These include Feedly and Inoreader.

Blogging tools are used by those who find it valuable to blog about their ideas and experiences. The main tools they use are WordPress and Blogger.

Resource collections – like YouTube, Wikipedia, Slideshare and TED – are often the first port of call when individuals need to solve a (learning or performance) problem.

Search engines are of course needed for a wider search of the Web, Google is the leading tool on use, although Microsoft’s Bing is another (albeit not as popular) option.

Curation tools are used by individuals to keep them abreast of new resources.  Google Alerts notifies subscribers when new resources appear of interest to them. Scoopit curates resources on specified topics and presents them in a magazine. Flipboard scours an individual’s network connections for new resources and puts them in a mobile magazine.

Bookmarking tools are used to store links to resources – either temporarily or permanently. So for instance Pocket is a tool to save something to read later, whereas tools like Diigo (are for storing textual links) and Pinterest for pinning  links as images.

Clipping tools support the “clipping” pieces of content from the Web.  The main tools for this are Evernote and OneNote, although this functionality is also found in a Personal Learning Space.

Online course & MOOC platforms offer free and paid-for online courses and programs (often from universities) for self-study . The most popular are Coursera, Lynda, edX, FutureLearn and iTunesU.

Learning experience platforms are a new range of platforms that offer continuous curated content for both personal and enterprise use. These include Degreed, Axonify and EdCast.

Enterprise LMS deliver and manage e-learning (and sometimes social e-leaning) to employees. Examples: Moodle, TotaraLMS and Cornerstone.

Classroom tools provide a way for trainees to interact and feedback in the classroom using mobile devices. Examples include Poll Everywhere and Mentimeter.

Webinar tools provide a platform for individuals to participate in live e-learning. Most popular are WebEx and Adobe Connect.

File sharing tools are used for resource sharing in work teams or across the organisation (and elsewhere). Dropbox and Google Drive are the most popular.

Enterprise social networks and platforms provide a place for individuals to connect with one another inside the organisation. Popular ESNs/Platforms include Yammer, Confluence and SharePoint.

Video meeting tools allow groups of people to meet with video conferencing facilities.  Tools include Skype, Google Hangouts and Zoom.

Collaboration tools like Slack, HipChat and Trello support collaborative team work, whereas Google Docs, Google Slides & Google Sheets enable the creation of collaborative documentation.

Office tools are dominated by the Microsoft Office suite (Word, PowerPoint and Excel) although Apple iWork tools (Keynote, Pages and Numbers) are now very popular. Other tools include those like Prezi (for presentation creation).

Personal productivity tools abound but two key ones are Google Calendar and Google Translate.

Email clients are still very important communication tools, and Gmail and Outlook are the most popular.

Of course, when it comes to using these tools, a  new set of Modern Professional Learning skills is required to function effectively – to get the most out of the tools and ensure the individual is not overwhelmed. That’ll be the topic of a future article here.

[You can find out more about the Modern Professional Learner’s Toolkit here where you find a growing collection of Quick Guides to the Tools.]

An employee’s Personal Learning Space lies at the heart of MWL – not a LMS

There is a lot of talk about how the workplace is changing; it is certainly a very different place from even 10 years ago. We hear about how the emerging Gig Economy means there is no longer a job for life, and how digitization is effecting the workplace in many different ways, which Microsoft summarises very well as follows (my emboldening).

“The exponential growth of digital connectivity, devices and information is driving profound changes in the way we work, all around all the world. In order to survive in this world, companies need to rethink everything from culture to tools and environments.”

Rethinking everything includes rethinking the way that we enable and support learning in an organisation. The world of business is moving very fast nowadays so it is becoming increasingly difficult for a L&D department to keep their people up to date, and as people are moving in and out of jobs there is a need to think about how L&D can support a contingent workforce.

It is therefore becoming clear that what is needed are employees who take responsibility for driving their own continuous development, that is employees who think about what skills they need to develop, both now and in the future. In fact, for forward-looking organisations, continuous learning lies at the very centre of their company culture. And there are now some companies who recruit for “learnability” – the desire and ability to constantly learn new things. In fact a key pillar of Google’s recruitment strategy is to hire “learning animals”.

From my own research I can see that the learning habits of individuals who exhibit high learnability are already changing. They no longer rely on being trained by their company or taking online courses to move forward, but rather they recognise that they learn in many different ways for and at work. This might come from their daily work experiences, from interactions with their customers or colleagues or from their manager or even working with a coach or mentor. But it also might come from interactions with people in their professional networks and online communities (from thought leaders to practitioners), from participation in professional events (both in person and online), from receiving a continual drip feed of knowledge in the form of blogs, articles and other news, as well as accessing and making use of a wide variety of resources on the Web. I call this new way of learning for and at work – Modern Professional Learning.

What is more, Modern Professional Learning happens both inside and outside the organisation, through both planned and unplanned activities, and is both a conscious and sub-conscious process. It is partly organised by L&D, partly by managers, and partly self-organised.

L&D’s role in the modern workplace is therefore to support all these ways of learning – ie, not just provide courses and resources, but also support manager-led learning so that individuals get the most out of their daily work and share their experiences with their work teams and groups, as well as empower employee-led learning in order to nurture learnability and help individuals set their own professional goals, organise their own resources, document their progress and share their experiences within their organisation “bringing the outside in”. I call this Modern Workplace Learning (or MWL)

For L&D MWL therefore means doing things differently and doing different things – the practicalities of which I talk about in my new book, Learning in the Modern Workplace 2017.

But what about the technology that underpins learning in the modern workplace? Currently the prime technology that is in place is the LMS which is used to track employee (online) training. But in the modern workplace, it really isn’t appropriate to use the LMS to try and track everything everyone learns in the organisation. In fact trying to do so is neither practicable nor feasible. What is far more appropriate is a new approach where an employee organises and manages his or her own learning, and where the manager measures success – not in terms of “learning activity” (whether it be attendance on training, completion of courses, or posts and comments in social platforms) but in terms of changes in job, team or business performance.

This is where PebblePad comes in as it offers the individual the ability to set up a privately controlled Personal Learning Space, and provides a set of templates to support their learning in a number of ways, e.g. a SMART Action Plan for setting professional goals, and a structured reflection template for recording and reflecting on experiences (wherever and however they take place – in the classroom, online, in the office, in a conference, or elsewhere). These templates also mean that individuals can then spend more time thinking about what happened and what they learned, rather than how to craft a coherent reflection or record on a blank page.

There also a mobile app, Pebble Pocket which makes it very easy for individuals to use the templates or take photos or videos, on the go, to record their experiences or provide visual evidence of new performance.

Furthermore, every asset that an individual creates is, by default, private to them, but they can, if they wish, share anything with one or more people privately or publicly (on the Web). The individual can also decide whether viewers can leave comments or feedback on their resources.

Whilst an individual might adopt PebblePad for their own personal use, there is a strong case for an organisational implementation. In which case a company might create an institutional space (ATLAS) where workspaces can be set up (by both L&D and managers), where content can be pushed down to employees , and where individuals might (more formally) submit their assets for feedback, peer review or validation, e.g. for performance review, promotion or professional accreditation. Another space (Flourish) might also be set up to support coaching and mentoring in the organisation.

Using PebblePad to provide a new organizational framework for workplace learning brings a number of advantages.

1 – It would send a clear message about the importance of continuous learning to the business.

2 – It would put the individual’s Personal Learning Space firmly at the heart of organisational learning and would also help to ensure that learning is integrated from beyond the workplace.

3 – It would move the focus away from tracking “learning activity” (by L&D) to tracking real performance changes (by managers).

All this is game-changing – and that’s not a term I use lightly or very often – both for the organisation and for the individual. Since the individual’s Personal Learning Space is portable and can be detached from one organisation and re-attached to another, this means everyone wins. An individual can continue to build on their professional learning as he/she moves from job to job, and the organisation can benefit from the wealth of experience new and current employees bring to the table.

PebblePad is not a new product; it has been in use in some of the world’s best universities for over 12 years now, and the Founders are themselves experienced learning professionals. But now it is also being used in organisations who recognise the need for a new technology framework to underpin the multitude of ways employees learn in the modern workplace.

You can find out all about PebblePad at,

Why organisations need to empower employee-led learning

Organisations are no longer like they were 50 years ago; people are constantly moving around in their careers, and this is set to continue. So whereas training was originally done to people at a time when it was about training people to do a job for life, it is increasingly clear that conventional training practices and approaches are now outdated. Individuals mostly want to learn what they need for their job, as and when they need it – and L&D can’t possibly provide everything everyone needs. What is more people learn in many different ways – not just through organised L&D activities – but everyday, inside and outside the workplace.

Modern Professional Learning is how we learn in the new world of work; it is more than being taught or trained and includes many different elements as shown in the diagram below.

It happens both inside and outside an organisation:

  • Inside an organisation it happens through both L&D- and Manager-organised initiatives
  • Outside an organisation it happens thorough self-organised initiatives

It is more than taking formal training or courses, and involves:

  • finding things out
  • solving learning and performance problems
  • keeping up to date with what happens in ones industry or profession
  • interacting with both content and people
  • doing ones daily work

It is both planned and unplanned (accidental and serendipitous), conscious and sub-conscious

In the modern workplace L&D now has a tripartite role – not just organising things for people to learn from (e.g. courses and resources), it means supporting all the other ways people learn for and at work. This means supporting manager-led learning and empowering employee-led learning.

By empowering employee-led learning, organisations will gain substantial benefits, e.g.

  • as individuals bring their knowledge and networks to work so others in the organisation can more easily learn from shared experiences and resources
  • as individuals have easier access to a wider range of resources (content and people) they will be able to solve organisational performance problems more quickly
  • as individuals take responsibility for their own professional learning and career development, so the organisation will be able to benefit from their new knowledge and skills

Furthermore, as as individual’s learning is managed by the individual him or herself, trying to track everything everyone learns in a corporate LMS becomes an increasingly irrelevant task. It therefore makes more sense to focus on enabling individuals to improve themselves in the ways that suit them best – and supporting them as they do this.

The organisational success metrics for empowering employee-led learning will then be determined by job, team and business performance improvements.

(This is an extract from Learning in the Modern Workplace 2017)

See also An employee’s Personal Learning Space lies at the heart of MWL – not a LMS

New Book: Learning in the Modern Workplace


Traditionally, the primary focus of a Learning & Development (L&D) Department has been on training people to do their jobs – either in the classroom or online – and making sure they do it. In other words, it’s been all about organising and managing learning for people. But as the world of work is evolving and individuals’ learning habits are changing, it now requires new workplace learning approaches to underpin all the ways people learn in the modern workplace. This doesn’t just mean updating traditional training practices but adopting new ways to enable and support both manager-led and employee-led learning. For L&D Departments it means doing things differently and doing different things.

In the 15 months since I released my previous book, Modern Workplace Learning: A Resource Book for L&D, I have been working with L&D professionals all around the world helping them modernise their workplace learning practices, so this new book – presented in the form of a number of short, succinct sections – builds on the material in that book to provide new models, frameworks, guidance and examples as well as links to 140 new resources for you to delve deeper into how to support learning in the modern workplace. It also contains a 30-page Appendix containing the Top Tools for Learning 2016 lists to provide a complete set of resources.

The book is a available as a Paperback or PDF. There is also an online resource that contains all the colour images used in the book as well as clickable link lists. The Table of Contents appears below.

Here is some early feedback.

“This book is easy to read, easy to make sense of – and to my mind, makes absolute sense. You’ve included lots of really good tools and techniques for people to try, and have made them very accessible. All good, I like it” Shane Sutherland, CEO, PebblePad

“L&D professional? Buy this book. Seriously.” Donald Taylor, Chairs LPI, LSG and Learning Technologies


Paperback (with black and white images). This will be printed on demand and shipped to your address


PDF (with colour images and clickable links). Available for immediate download


FREE for participants on the MWL public workshops and on the MWL corporate programme

SITE LICENCE available for organisational distribution/use of the PDF available. Please contact for further information


Part A: Understanding the need for change (pp 11-26)

  • The changing world of work
  • Changing learning habits
  • Modern Professional Learning
  • The calls for change
  • What does it mean to transform workplace learning?

Part B: Implementing Modern Workplace Learning (pp 27-50)

  • Doing things differently and doing different things
  • New Organisational Learning Mindset
  • New Technology for Organisational Learning
  • New L&D roles
  • Are you ready to be a MWL intrapreneur?
  • Getting started with MWL
Part C: Modernising L&D-led learning (pp 51-76)

  1. Curate content and learning opportunities
  2. Create flexible on demand resources
  3. Flip the classroom
  4. Facilitate social online learning experiences
  5. Run learning campaigns

Part D: Supporting manager-led learning (pp 77-100)

  1. Help managers build a continuous learning mindset
  2. Help managers develop their own people
  3. Encourage daily reflection
  4. Support knowledge sharing and social learning
  5. Facilitate problem solving and innovation workshops

Part E: Empowering employee-led learning (pp 101-124)

  1. Develop modern professional learning skills
  2. Support self-organised and self-managed learning
  3. Support informal mentoring
  4. Coordinate corporate networking events
  5. Provide a learning help desk
Appendices (pp 125-156)

A: Top 200 Tools for Learning 2016
B: Top 200 Tools for Learning (Best of Breed )2016
C: Top 100 Tools for Personal & Professional Learning 2016
D: Top 100 Tools for Workplace Learning 2016
E: A-Z of Tools in the book