Workday Learning: A new disruptor in the fast-paced learning market

Workday Learning: A new disruptor in the fast-paced learning market
Posted by Jason Magill, Manoj Parthasarathy, and Walt Sokoll on November 30, 2016.

In Bersin by Deloitte’s new report previewing 2017’s top nine trends disrupting HR technology, the learning market is featured for its ongoing massive evolution. Driven by cultural, demographic, and business realities, learning and development (L&D) is being viewed as essential not only to ensure a suitably skilled and competent workforce but also to attract talent (particularly Millennials) in the first place. According to the report, “[the] entire marketplace of corporate learning tools is being turned on its head….”1 We’ve had the chance to observe this firsthand with the introduction of Workday Learning, a new entrant in the fast-paced, cloud-based learning market.

We participated in several Workday Learning sessions at Workday Rising, and have been working to prepare our first client for go-live. Based on these experiences, we’ve learned that Workday Learning entered the cloud-based learning market with a mission to help transform the way organizations approach the experience of their learners. Being new in the market, Workday has a key advantage of starting with a clean slate and the opportunity to focus on (1) the employee/customer experience, which is of increasing importance to HR in general, and (2) the learner experience, which is more specific to L&D. In Workday Learning, these experiences largely center around the application’s ability to incorporate and address current trends in learning while still supporting traditional learning methods and channels.

Workday’s product team started with a learner-first, content-centric focus. This involved recognizing and enabling common learner behaviors and characteristics, including:

  • “Binge” consumption of content–Workday makes it easier to “binge watch” educational videos.
  • Playlist mentality–Courses can encompass a variety of learning experiences and content, such as videos, documents, and instructor-led classes.
  • Content “mining”–Users can easily search for a video or other forms of content, and Workday Learning will eventually provide smart content suggestions over time based on users’ preferences and past activity.
  • Content “snacking”–Users can learn by viewing short videos and content.
  • Content sharing–Users can create short videos on specific topics and upload the content for consumption by peers/other users.

Workday Learning currently supports two delivery methods: instructor-led and digital, which can include courses (blended or digital) and lessons (just digital).

  • Instructor led: This includes traditional, instructor-led courses, with an interface for creating course details that is fairly simple and straightforward.
  • Digital: This could be a document, video, or other course that can be imported. Content formatted in the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM)—a set of e-learning standards and specifications—is also supported. Additionally, Workday has a platform for playing video, which optimizes based on connectivity and works effectively across multiple platforms (mobile and laptop).

Getting Started
As you evaluate Workday Learning for your organization, consider the following:

  • What is your vision for learning at your organization? What experience do you want learners to have? What types of content do you want to be available to the learners? How do you want that content to be delivered?
  • What learning organization structure do you want for the future? Organization structure will impact how the learning solution is designed, deployed, and ultimately governed. This will be exceptionally critical as you potentially enable a greater degree of user-generated content.
  • What are the implications for your learning catalog/content categorization? Rationalization may be in order. You should plan to review your current learning curriculum to determine if the existing content should be brought over. Legacy content may not be aligned with the organization’s new vision for learning or the new system.
  • What would you require to implement Workday Learning? You should plan to conduct an assessment of the current state and establish a roadmap that aligns Workday’s product roadmap to your organization’s requirements to migrate.

Workday has approached learning very differently from traditional LMSs of the past. This learner experience-based approach may be well-received by Millennials and can be intuitive given the similar look and feel to some popular social media applications.


Jason Magill is a leader in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Learning Solutions practice focused on learning technology. He has deep experience in learning strategy and transformation, learning technology and LMS implementations, learning organization and operations, and content design and development.
Manoj Parthasarathy is a specialist leader in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital Practice focused on HR Transformations. Manoj specializes in learning technology strategy, learning management systems, social and mobile learning, content strategy, and development.
Walt Sokoll leads Deloitte Consulting LLP’s US Workday HCM Practice. He has a wide range of additional consulting experience including software selection, technology roadmaps, business process design, and organizational assessments.

1 Josh Bersin, HR Technology Disruptions for 2017: Nine Trends Reinventing the HR Software Market, Bersin by Deloitte, 2016.

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