The on-demand learning toolkit

The new learning architect

Over the past year we have been publishing extracts from The New Learning Architect. We continue with the fourth and last part of chapter 9:

Top-down approaches

A number of options exist for organisations to support employees with on-demand learning:

Performance support materials

Mobile learning

Help desks

Online books

Bottom-up approaches

On-demand learning can also be supported from the bottom-up through the use of technology:

Online search

Using forums

Using wikis

Conditions for success

On-demand learning occurs whether or not an organisation takes active steps to provide encouragement and support. Every time an employee turns to a colleague for help with a task, they are engaging in on-demand learning. However, on-demand learning is more likely to thrive when l&d professionals recognise that:

  • it is often unnecessary, if not completely futile, to try and teach employees everything they need to know to do their jobs; there is too much to know and it changes too quickly;
  • resources need to be shifted from teaching everything there is to know, to covering the key underlying concepts, principles and skills formally (unless, of course, the job situation clearly demands that these be memorised / fully embedded) and then providing high quality, context-sensitive, usable, easily-accessible information at the point of need;
  • in many organisations it is impossible to provide all necessary information on a top-down basis; employees need to be encouraged and empowered to form communities of practice, to develop knowledge networks, to share best practices, and to collaborate in seeking solutions;
  • everyone knows something, nobody knows everything.

Coming next: Chapter 10 – experiential learning

Return to Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8

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About Clive Shepherd

Clive Shepherd has written 241 post in this blog.

Clive is a consultant specialising in the application of technology to learning and business communications. He was previously Director of Training and Creative Services for a multinational corporation and co-founder of a major multimedia development company. For four years he was chair of the eLearning Network.

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