What effect will work-life fusion have on learning and development?

What effect will work-life fusion have on learning and development?


For decades now, human resource departments have been concerned with work-life balance issues. Employees need to perform well in the workplace, and this means they need time away from work as well. Balancing these two needs of employees, however, is becoming more challenging with social and mobile technologies. Increasingly, work and life are becoming fused. Caryn Seidman Becker addresses this in an article, Work-Life Balance, or Just Life? It’s also addressed here in my article for the Association for Talent Development.

There is little doubt that mobile technologies are increasingly connecting us with work, just as social technologies are connecting us with our outside lives while at work. What does this mean to learning in the workplace? As work and life become one, does learning inside and outside the workplace fuse as well? Are there implications for our learning and development departments? We look forward to your thoughts.


  1. There is no doubt that mobile technologies are fusing work and life, but I wonder about its impact on learning and development. Some of my peers salivate at the thought of our target audience learning “on the go”, but I temper my own view with an acknowledgement of the fact that many people are trying to separate their personal life from their work life. For example, I can’t see someone doing their compliance training on the bus home – unless, maybe, they were allowed to go home an hour early in order to do so.

    • I have a similar philosophy, Ryan. I tend to look for workplace solutions that meet the needs of virtually all employees and not target only mobile users (or any other subset, for that matter). That said, I am now focusing more on microlearning options using video, which pretty smoothly crosses the desktop-to-mobile divide. My challenge is to demonstrate that this is not really a new approach, but by focusing on the shorter time frames of “micro” learning, we can be faster to market and simultaneously support/encourage employee-generated microlearning products.