Work Technologies

Marc Zao-Sanders Nov 10, 2017

There's something 'bout that work, work, work, work, work, work

When you a gon' learn, learn, learn, learn, learn, learn

— Rihanna

The relationship between work and learning is close, important, yet bizarrely confusing. People that work in learning technologies are often criticised for developing strategies which are too disconnected from actual work. So the learning doesn’t feel relevant, doesn’t happen or happens poorly. This is the entire basis of the 70:20:10 discussion. Such a simple pair of common words, used by 3 year olds. Why does the work-learn relationship spin us out like this?

Here’s an unscientific, but hopefully insightful, way of taking a look at learning in a literally work-centric way. Start with work technologies we all use every day (eg email and Slack) and place this in the middle. Around those add technologies which, though not essential, enable us to do our work better, like LinkedIn. Outside of these, add learning technologies (for which I’ve slightly adapted Josh Bersin’’s list). Note that none of these are specialist technologies technologies like SalesForce; these are technologies for the world’s knowledge workers, the LinkedIn set of half a billion, more or less.

nullwork technologies.png

I don’t claim that this is an exhaustive list of technologies or providers. Still, I think it’s helpful. It encourages L&D people to view themselves as being on the periphery of business and to force their way towards the centre which is, to borrow Slack’s tagline, where work happens.

And now a game to find out how relevant your learning strategy is to your business.

  • Give yourself 1 point for every item (words, not the icons) in the blue outer circle meaningfully encompassed by your learning strategy.
  • Give yourself 2 for the enablers you hit in the red ring.
  • And three whole points for items in the yellow bullseye.

How many do you have? I’m told by my L&D friends that 20 is a very good score.

We’ve got hung up on this term ‘learning technologies’. But it’s more healthy and useful to think more widely about work technologies. Wrap your learning strategy around all that and learning will become more relevant.


This post is part of a series that my colleagues and I at Filtered are working on. It’s broadly about how recommendations help us to make sense of all the content clutter, especially in learning. Have a look at our other posts here.

Also, we’ve recently launched a free new tool to provide personalized learning experiences for L&D and HR professionals called globalfilter for L&D. It's an online recommendation engine with over 180 high-quality learning assets to read, watch, practice and apply for our industry. Click on the link above to try it out.

About Marc Zao-Sanders
Marc started his career in strategy. He then applied the skills learnt there to a number of small businesses including Pure Potential and Over the course of this period he began to realise the shortage of basic business skills in the work place and wanted to do something about it. And so the idea of Filtered was born. Marc is now Filtered's managing director.
Read more by Marc Zao-Sanders

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