Innovation : Innovative Learning in the Workplace

Lee Kwok Hoong is the Marketing Manager, HP Education Services. 

Contact Hazel Tee San Peng at email : hazel-sp_tee@hp.com.


In today’s business timely competency is a key driver of productivity and business growth. As a result there is renewed focus on learning and its impact on overall economic performance. In a knowledge-based economy the emphasis is on life long learning and creating a culture of constant and instant learning to help overcome shifts in industry focus and technology advancement. The benefits of such learning include :-

a. timely skills to compete in the changing business environment 

b. vocational and professional job satisfaction

c. effective integration of competency into job design

Growing enterprises will realize that business success is dependent on effective management of knowledge and competency.

A knowledge-focused organization needs to have the right knowledge available as and when that knowledge is needed. Knowledge can be generated by hiring the right people, bringing people together to establish groups for a specific purpose, adapting to new technologies and by creating informal networks to show expertise. All these efforts need adequate time and space to allow knowledge acquisition to take place.

Making the change

A holistic approach becomes pivotal to quickly transfer knowledge. Many organisations are hampered by fixed training schedules, travel requirements, the use of face-to-face learning models and the lack of direct matching of training and learning to business needs.

The holistic approach to learning suggests that learning must be integrated with business outcomes. It involves learning delivered using a blend of technology and styles to account for different learning needs and expectations.

The focus of such an integrated approach must be on enterprise-wide solutions. It is also important to understand how technology components work together and how to get the right people with the right skills at the right time to do the job. The integrated approach must also account for the learner’s needs and interests that learning will satisfy. The learner experiences and corresponding flexibility to allow for self-directed learning add another dimension to the composition of the approach.

Strategies for innovation

First and foremost, organizations must have to move away from a menu of training and learning offerings that provide discrete sessions for the learner. In a practical sense, learning has to be learner-centric, based on individual interests. In most situations, current learning environments have been designed and developed in isolation and do not integrate tightly with the developments in the business world.

Therefore, learning has to be directed towards particular levels of understanding and experience with the needs of the learner and the business remaining flexible and adaptable. Typically, in an integrated and innovative model of learning, the organization has to :-

1. Reinvent the way learning takes place :

It is necessary to develop innovative and flexible ways to create and manage the learning process. Employees need learning experiences that give them opportunities to share knowledge and connect their learning to the context of their work. Such strategies can include peer coaching, mentoring and networking.

2. Redefine learning events :

Such events must be led by people with the right expertise and incorporate activities reflected in the workplace. Employees need an operational definition of what expert knowledge looks like and how it works.

3. Refine the learning process :

The learning experience must encompass a range of appropriate best practices that extend over a significant period of time, as well as an exploration into the near future. Employees need sequences of learning that build one on the other and allow support for on going development over time.

4. Re-establish the value of on-site learning :

This approach embeds learning in the workplace and can be led by respected peers. It also allows for input in the learning process so learning is planned and owned by the employees themselves.

5. Remember that it is important to promote and visibly support learning in the workplace :

There is little meaningful change in an organisation if learning is not tied directly to the needs of the business. Management vigilance on the return on investment in learning must be actively supported.

Such an approach to developing employee knowledge can be captured in the concept of “Spinnovation”, or speed plus innovation.

Many reasons explain how integrated learning can be enabled by the concept of "Spinnovation". Some of the important reasons include :-

1. Integrated learning aims to minimize time-to-apply.

Through systematic planning to eliminate process redundancy and latency, and transferring only the relevant "learning materials" to the learners, the time-to-apply is minimized so that the workforce is able to quickly acquire and apply new skills to compete at the next level.

2. Integrated learning can optimize knowledge acquisition and transfer.

Technology is leveraged to optimize the acquisition and execution processes of knowledge transfer. A knowledge bank is created with small encapsulations that allows easy updating and retrieval.

3. Flexibility in integrated learning will increase motivation to acquire knowledge.

Learning is sometimes seen to be a social process. Flexible options in an integrated model allow the learner to select from the most effective learning method, thus increasing the motivation to learn.

4. Communities of practice can be formed to support lifelong employability.

Employees with common learning interests tend to form learning communities revolving around a subject matter or practice. Over time, such communities of practice possess the valuable intellectual capital that an organization uses to compete. Such groups often verify the contents of a knowledge bank amidst changing rules and practices, and stay employed together.

Integrated learning can help achieve better business results ! The concept of "Spinnovation" is a key element of business success. Enabling this is an environment of integrated learning. An organization has to quickly train its workforce before the competition catches up. In the new digital business world, learning speed will help bring about innovative applications, as this is one of the most effective ways to enhance position in the marketplace. When an organization is number one, integrated learning is one way to quickly move further ahead of competition !


For more information about HP Education Services, visit their website education.hp.com

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