Workplace learning is fundamental in today’s business environment — driven by technological innovations, altering the demand for skills and roles. Employees should acquire new knowledge, replicate novel behaviours, and continuously adapt to ensure sustained success. Considering all of the factors mentioned above, companies are increasingly witnessing an elevated responsibility of the L&D function. This particular department must cohabitate with the leadership to allow an organisation to promote an effective, agile, and fast learning environment. And this is where the concept of transforming workplace learning comes in.

A Deeper Look into Transforming Workplace Learning

The organisational strategy must incorporate learning as a significant part of the core talent processes like performance management. However, several companies believe that multiple departments do not have the necessary know-how or authority to play such a role. Well, to give you a positive example, let’s see how a US healthcare company utilised its L&D function to tackle the COVID-19 crisis by transforming workplace learning:

“When 90 percent of the 55,000-strong workforce suddenly began working remotely, within 24 hours, the function produced and posted online videos and learning modules to help workers set up equipment at home and log on securely (relieving a severely overstretched IT department that was already taking thousands of daily inquiries). And it curated new “playlists” of learning modules for employees on its digital platform, tailoring them to help workers find the information they needed quickly and navigate the crisis more effectively”.

So, What Did the Company Do?

With the increased activities and change in working, the company’s recruiting department did not pause its hiring process. The same source says that the L&D function helped onboard 200 recruits virtually. Additionally, “The function also converted critical leadership-development programs into digitally-enabled sessions, facilitated calls for 1,400 leaders to help them build the behaviours required to manage teams remotely and ensure that productivity did not drop, and helped business teams learn about the latest technologies required to serve their clients in new, digitized ways.”

The Takeaway? Instead of concentrating on delivering learning programs digitally, companies must focus on making it more organised and roll-out capabilities. Any organisation should understand that transforming workplace learning involves an ability to forecast and respond to changes rapidly. And this demands the adoption of an agile operating model.

Transforming Workplace Learning to an Agile Model

Agile learning programs can perform superbly well in fast-changing operating environments. They lead to higher customer and employee satisfaction. Reports have also shown that agility promotes reduced costs and quicker marketing times. However, this transformation must embrace all the elements of the company — strategy, structure, people, processes, and technology. The elements should represent the ideal balance between stability and dynamism.

Now, if your L&D department is too stable, it can translate to rigidity. Training programs involve several aspects such as course design, content management, program delivery, and digital-platform support. Since the teams are scattered and have their own KPIs, they may not be working in tandem to achieve the same objectives. Hence, collaboration becomes challenging since the L&D function primarily focuses on broad organisational goals and KPIs. Rigid learning programs are additionally reluctant to accept change to adapt to theaneeds of the modern generation. Hence, while transforming workplace learning, there must be a proper balance between stability and dynamism. Be it your strategy, structure, people, processes, or technology, strength and vitality need to be aligned to create a stable backbone and ensure an agile, evolving workplace.

Let’s see how the experts at McKinsey have designed this model.

The above table demonstrates corporate learning both stability and dynamism into all elements of an L&D function — including its strategy, structure, people, processes, and tech and systems.

Now, How to Achieve the Required Balance Between Stability and Dynamism?

Transforming workplace learning takes time — ranging from a year to two years. But the time frame may vary. It can depend on where you have started, the complexity of the courses, the required speed. Even the attitude of the staff plays a vital role. You can begin the process by setting the learning vision. Secondly, ensure that the learning practices can meet this objective (s).

Next, assess your company’s current capabilities and readiness for change. You can then easily set the required interventions and priorities. This step should also include inputs from learning experts, end-users, and business leaders — while involving the five elements mentioned above. Next up is to create the operating model and map the way ahead. When you know your starting point, you can plan your learning methodology. A thoroughly developed methodology includes structure, processes, and required capabilities. Now, set a budget and finalise the initiatives and their sequencing.


Transforming workplace learning requires L&D functions to use data and research to enable employees to grow and improve. Learning and Development professionals can utilise their extensive knowledge and experience to address the changing needs of their organisations. Hence, they can create the ideal learning programs accordingly. If you need more help in transforming workplace learning in your company, our experts at PlayAblo Learning Management System are just a call away!