We like to believe that people have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge that drives them to learn every day. But when it comes to workplace learning, people often simply need knowledge or guidance to complete a task or meet a specific challenge. But the enterprise learning ecosystem is not typically designed to make that happen. Learning often becomes a separate event that takes people away from their jobs, providing them information that may not yet be relevant — or will ever be relevant to what they are doing.

By adopting a more performance-focused mindset for learning, L&D teams can establish an environment where learning isn’t considered an obstacle or an impediment but a critical tool within the daily workflow. It starts by considering how people solve problems in their everyday life. They will naturally look for the information or instruction they need to answer a question or complete a task. Corporate learning should mirror this as much as possible. By thinking about learning from the perspective of performance first, learning interactions can address individual needs before they arise. What do people need to be successful in their role? What do they need to do on the job? What do they need to know in order to perform those tasks? How can we ensure they have access to guidance when and where they need it?

For the L&D team, this means having a closer relationship with business stakeholders and subject matter experts. These are the people who know what the performance elements should be. Everyone should have a solid understanding of the audience, its workflow and the performance objectives. The Learning team can translate those into flow-of-work learning experiences.

This approach, in conjunction with larger, more formalized learning programs, can work for almost any situation, not just simple, procedure-based tasks. Even if someone needs support analyzing or interpreting data, applying judgment or making a decision, the right guidance and knowledge at the right time can be critical.

Brandon Hall Group Platinum Preferred Provider Conduent works with clients to take a more performance-based approach to learning. They help their clients adopt a consultative approach with stakeholders and SMEs to understand and define the “do” outcomes that the business needs from the workforce. To learn more about how to shift to a performance mindset for learning, including using tools like a Rapid Workflow Analysis, see Conduent’s recent article on the subject here.

David Wentworth, Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group


Brandon Hall Group Strategy Briefs answer the critical questions learning, talent, HR and business leaders must address to manage their human capital. To tackle these critical questions in more detail, we built tools, frameworks, research summaries and business builders based on up-to-date research and case studies for you to implement best and next Human Capital Management (HCM) practices. To gain access to these valuable resources, contact success@brandonhall.com.

Leading minds in HCM choose Brandon Hall Group to help them build future-proof employee-development plans for the new era. For more than 28 years, we have empowered, recognized and certified excellence in organizations around the world, influencing the development of over 10,000,000 associates and executives.

David Wentworth

David Wentworth has been a senior research analyst in the human capital field since 2005 and joined the Brandon Hall Group in 2013. He has authored reports and articles on various human capital subjects with an emphasis on workforce technology. He has contributed to several reports published by ASTD, including authoring Mobile Learning: Learning in the Palm of Your Hand, The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity Across Generations, and Instructional Systems Design Today and in the Future. His work has also appeared in Compensation & Benefits Review and T+D Magazine.