Managing knowledge and delivering learning in the hybrid workplace is critical, but can also be challenging. In a series of blogs we look at some of the main issues that often arise, and how that has driven us to design Slick Plus. Last time we looked at knowledge bottlenecks and the role that both communities of practice and social technologies play in moving towards a system of collective learning. In this post we explore further the need for technologies that are specifically geared towards social learning, and why we build Slick+ to bridge a gap.

Why we need technology that actually supports situated learning

It’s long been accepted by learning professionals and the industry in general, that much of our workplace learning is informal in nature and actually falls outside of activities planned by learning and development teams. 

Another popular concept is the 70-20-10 model that is still used as a yardstick in many organizations to plan out learning strategies. This says that 70% of our learning comes from experiences carried out in our role, 20% comes from interacting with peers, colleagues and experts, and 10% comes from more formal training and learning.

Even though a learning and development strategy may reflect 70-20-10, investments in learning technologies and tools seldom do.They rarely support the informal and peer-to-peer learning that goes on within an organization and therefore don’t offer very good ROI; there’s often a disconnect between how employees actually learn and the systems that support them. The truth is that in many organizations the technology in place to support situated learning is somewhere between poor or non-existent.

The pitfalls of the LMS

This contrasts sharply with support for learning management systems (LMS). Most medium and large-sized organizations have an LMS or subscribe to courses that are available on what is basically an LMS. This will be the main learning technology, but it is not designed to support the 90% that is about more experiential and social learning. It is designed to cover the 10% relating to more formal learning.

We get why organizations need an LMS and we’d usually recommend that learning functions invest in one. You do need formal learning and sometimes you need to show that people have taken a particular course.

But an LMS comes spring-loaded with many problems. Courses don’t get completed. Mandatory learning is often regarded as a box-ticking exercise or as pain in the backside. There’s little engagement and knowledge transfer. Occasionally there’s a bit of gold dust with some e-learning that is both valued and enjoyable, but the majority of learning is regarded as a pretty dreary, lonely experience which takes time out of the flow of work. An LMS and the related SCORM-friendly course material can also be pretty expensive so the result can be high cost, high levels of learner dissatisfaction and underwhelming returns on investment.

Situated learning fuels engagement and more…

During the course of this blog series, we’ve argued the role learning plays in areas such as engagement, retention, innovation, satisfaction and a whole host of other benefits. This is continually reflected in industry research.

For example, the recently released 2024 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report suggests that 70% of people say learning improves their sense of connection to an organization, 80% say it adds purpose to their work, and 90% of organizations are making learning as their “no 1” employee retention strategy. And you can be sure the 2025 research will tell a similar story.

It doesn’t take much to realize that most of that learning-driven “engagement” comes from situated learning and the excitement of new growth and development opportunities, overcoming challenges in a role, learning directly from colleagues and sharing insights with peers. This is the kind of people-centred learning that is not supported by the LMS.

The massive technology gap around situated learning

The truth is that there is a MASSIVE gap in technologies that support situated, informal and peer-driven learning, and adequately complement formal learning. We’ve explored how technology is a key enabler that can help overcome knowledge silos and reduce knowledge gaps, as well as uncork knowledge bottlenecks. But so often this technology is lacking.

This is what drove us to design Slick+ .Slick stands for Situated Learning for Innovation, Connection and Knowledge. The ‘plus’ acknowledges that this is a future-focused journey where we join our customers as partners in problem-solving, future-proofing and creating a culture of continuous learning (and inspiration!). 

It’s designed to complement formal learning and the world of the LMS: to enhance the existing (often extensive) investment in LMS, integrate into the existing learning ecosystem, and ramp up the more relatable, context-specific learning that we know is so crucial for competitiveness, employee retention and innovation. 

Based on our experience to date, Slick+ is a truly disruptive technology that can help establish a culture of collective learning that you simply can’t achieve with an LMS.

What makes Slick+ different from the traditional LMS?

Let’s explore a little more detail, how Slick+ is different from a more traditional LMS:

  • An LMS is rarely in the flow of work, a factor which impacts adoption. That extra effort required can cause knowledge bottlenecks. Slick+ is specifically designed to be directly in the flow of everyday work, where employees can easily find the relevant knowledge they need – and action it instantly – when they need it.
  • An LMS operates on what is essentially a “top-down” model of learning. It’s learning from experts only. It’s what the organization says you must learn. It’s not the more organic, grassroots model of social learning that can be multi-directional or bottom-up, where colleagues learn from peers. Slick+ is built to capture and share learning from the people you work with, no matter their role or location, and for you to share what you know, and what you are learning with them.
  • When you learn on an LMS the course material is often produced by a third-party. It can often be generic with no direct framing of the content specific to your context and challenges i.e. How we do things here. But Slick+ activates specific learning that will be contextual to your organization, role, location and relatable use cases – because it comes from your peers, people you work with dealing with the same challenges and sharing the same successes.
  • An LMS does not capture and share relevant, relatable, real-time knowledge and learning. Slick+ does.
  • An LMS is about a course that you need to complete in your own time. But often learning happens in real time or needs to take place at a point of need. Slick+ supports all sorts of learning including areas which are more to do with culture and behaviour. It can also work around supporting ‘performance enablement’ by capturing knowledge at the right moment, and accessing it at the right time e.g. when people actually need to put it into practice!
  • The back-end data from an LMS shows you course completions and perhaps where people are struggling. But it doesn’t show you the trending topics employees really care about. A solution like Slick+ captures data on what people are sharing knowledge about, what knowledge they seek to know more about, identify (and incentivize) knowledge champions, and helps to support and define learning strategies that are not built on assumptions. It is also a significant insight for employers to promote greater alignment with their employees.

 What makes Slick+ different from other learning technologies?

Social learning technologies are not new in organizations, and are actually pretty mature, especially those designed to support engagement, knowledge-sharing and communities, including professional communities of practice where learning often takes place.

But to date these learning technologies have tended to be less orientated around situated learning, particularly in knowledge that is shared between peers.

Our observation is that existing social technologies, including systems designed to support knowledge sharing:

  • Tend to be orientated a lot around discussion groups and adding comments which is useful for conversations and discussions that can support learning – particularly within communities of practice or getting answers to questions –  but not always ideal for knowledge transfer for real learning or creating tangible outputs.
  • Tend to assume knowledge is captured and shared as text, but something which is often too time-consuming or might be subject to review processes that deters sharing and therefore learning. Slick+ uses short-format video as the fundamental format for achieving effective knowledge capture, human connection, trust-building and learning.
  • When principally designed for engagement, social technologies are often designed to be driven by internal communications or leadership conversations, which is fundamentally still a top-down model rather than the peer model of situated learning. While a system like Slick+ benefits from having an owner and steward to drive adoption and use, our solution is based on a philosophy peer-driven, ‘learn it alls’ which removes barriers, gatekeepers and bottlenecks.
  • Pinboard solutions are mature social tools, but these are designed to facilitate sharing external learning resources such as videos on YouTube, not internally generated or employee-branded learning. With Slick+ the solution is not just about sharing a micro-video created by someone else, it also enables you to easily generate and publish the video into a repository of easily searchable knowledge.

Situated learning in action

We believe Slick+ provides an existing opportunity to drive situated learning in the workplace in a way that neither an LMS or existing social technologies can deliver.

Interested to learn more about how we enable social learning in the flow of work? Please get in touch to talk – we love unlocking individual expertise and transforming it to collective learning! 🙂

Meet the micro-learning solution that’s science-backed, easy to use and proven to maximize employee engagement and knowledge sharing for the way we work today.

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