A new framework for supporting learning and performance in the social workplace

Here is an updated version (V3) of the WSD Framework with more charts and descriptions, and now available as a PDF  to download under a Creative Commons Licence.

Social tools are changing not only the way that professionals are working and learning but also the way that organisations are transforming into social businesses. In the new connected workplace, current training, e-learning or blended learning services, which take a top-down, ”command and control” approach to organising and managing “learning” will not be appropriate to support these new ways of working and learning. What will be required is a completely new range of services – which we might call non-training services – that are focused on supporting continuous performance improvement and learning in the workflow as people do their jobs.

The Workplace Development Services (WDS) framework has therefore been developed to help organisations understand the range of new services and activities that will be required, as well as the tools and platforms to power these activities, and the new skills and mindset involved.


The Workforce Development Services (WSD) Framework comprises 4 key service areas.  However there is likely to be a high level of overlap in the activities provided by the different service areas.

1 – Training/Instructional Services

This service area will continue to design, deliver and manage training, e-learning and/or blended learning events. However the amount of this type of intervention is likely to reduce over time as other forms of learning are seen to be more effective.  Training and e-learning activities will likely include more informal and social approaches. They will also become more embedded in the workflow, e.g. learning communities will often be seen as an extension of a group’s existing online activities.

2 – Performance Support Services

This service area will focus on providing access to, and supporting an individual’s use of a range of resources (content and people) for performance improvement.  Activities will include creating (top-down) resources like job aids, e.g. by re-purposing courseware, but will also involve supporting the creation of employee-generated content, as well the individual’s own use of tools, content and networks on the Social Web, and the sharing of useful external resources through content aggregation and  content curation techniques.

3 – Social Collaboration Services

These (non-training) services will focus on supporting collaborative working and the building of internal networks, communities and collaboration spaces.  These will become key elements of building and supporting the collaborative culture of a social business – where informal, social learning is its bloodstream.

Activities will include helping to set up online group and community spaces, developing new collaboration and community skills by modelling new behaviours – since you can’t train people to be social –  as well as encouraging workers to “connect and collaborate” and engage in new collaborative work practices, so that there is a  symbiotic relationship between collaborative working and learning.

4 – Performance Consulting Services

This service will focus on finding the best solution to a learning or performance problem, which may well be a training/instructional solution but is more likely to be a performance support or social collaboration solution.  These services will focus on identifying the root cause of performance problems and proposing appropriate solutions through e.g. through workflow audits. This service area  will therefore serve as the main entry point in the Framework. In other words, instead of managers coming with requests for courses, they would come with requests for help with performance problems.


Although authoring tools and Learning Management Systems have gone “social” – i.e. by adding the functionality for social interactions within courses, like blogging, discussion forums and real-time activity streams, instructional tools won’t be the right tools for the new activities within the performance support and social collaboration service areas. These will involve the use of a wide range of other tools, particularly ones that are in use, in the workflow for everyday working activities.

The C4LPT Directory lists over 2,000 tools for learning and performance:


Supporting new ways of working and learning will require a wider skillset than is currently the case. It won’t just be about instructional design or LMS administration, but will require performance consulting skills, business skills, social media skills, collaboration skills and community management leadership skills.  However, since the Framework comprises  4 distinct service areas, this means there is still room for specialization, and at the same time a team approach will mean that all areas of work can benefit from those with the new skills.

The Social Learning Centre offers a range of online programmes, workshops, webinars and other resources to help new Workplace Development professionals acquire these new skills:  www.SocialLearningCentre.co.uk


A key aspect of this Framework is that it requires a new mindset. This means recognising it is no longer just about using traditional “command and control” approaches (that are employed in most training solutions to try and force people to learn), but will also involve encouraging and supporting people to engage in new collaborative activities to support one another as they work  by helping them to “connect and collaborate”.  Success will also be measured in terms of performance outcomes not in terms of “bums on seats”, test or online course completions.

The Internet Time Alliance works with organisations worldwide to support workplace transformation. www.InternetTimeAlliance.com


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