In multinational corporations, new models of learning are developing. A particular model with direct applications for challenges facing distributed workforces is one that combines the strengths of formal and informal learning while focusing on participants’ work‐based tasks. An operationalisation of this model in the context of the ongoing professional development of the engineers, geologists, and other technical specialists in a multinational oil company (Shell EP) is described. Important for the quality control and continual improvement of the implementation of the model is a set of criteria for the design and evaluation of courses reflecting its work‐based learning approach. Merrill's First Principles of Instruction (2002) form a starting point for such a model, but need to be expanded to reflect the particular needs of the Shell EP context. This article presents the expansion of Merrill's First Principles as the Merrill+design and evaluation criteria for courses with work‐based activities for technical professionals and demonstrates how the criteria can be applied through a selection of some results of evaluations of more than 60 of the Shell EP courses using a course‐scan methodology based on the Merrill+ criteria. Implications of use of the Merrill+ criteria for design and evaluation are discussed.