Jay on Workflow

Jay Cross has posted his recent article, co-authored with Tony O’Driscoll, in Training MagazineWorkflow Learning Gets Real. Workflow learning is the next step in the transition from apprenticeship to instructor-led training and now to workflow learning, which incorporates many of the principles of performance-centred design, but now within a networked environment. If you’re in the business of training, consider this:

If the training organization in every company evaporated into thin air or disappeared through a wormhole to teaching heaven, individuals would continue to learn.

Incorporating the current reality, where anyone can be connected with almost everyone, at any time, Jay says:

As we enter an age of informal and workflow learning, authority is less centralized than ever before. "Learning is best understood as an interaction among practitioners, rather than a process in which a producer provides knowledge to a consumer," says Etienne Wenger, a social researcher and champion of communities of practice.

So if you’re still in the "training" business, you had better get focused on the "performance" business very quickly. The workflow approach incorporates learning directly into work, not as a separate activity. I see this as the intersection of process & system design, cognition and especially social behaviour. In other words, how people work, learn and interact – all at the same time and in a messy and very human way.


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