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Defining Workplace Learning



This paper focuses on the significance of workplace learning. Learning is often defined as the route in which any type of knowledge is attained (Eraut, 2000: 4; Lave & Wenger, 1991: 47). The workplace can be an important place for learning and development, and in which knowledge can be created (Avis, 2010: 171). A discussion of the various types of workplace learning is included in this paper, namely those which fall under the category of formal, informal and unconscious. Research shows that 80% of the learning occurs informally through self-directed learning, networking, coaching and mentoring (Yeo, 2008: 318). However, there may be obstacles that can hinder learning at the place of work. Examples of these obstacles are also tackled in this paper.
European Scientific Journal May 2015 /SPECIAL/ edition Vol.1 ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e - ISSN 1857- 7431
Karen Cacciattolo, D.Soc.Sci., Leic.
M.Sc., Trng & HRM, Leic.
University of Malta, Malta
This paper focuses on the significance of workplace learning.
Learning is often defined as the route in which any type of knowledge is
attained (Eraut, 2000: 4; Lave & Wenger, 1991: 47). The workplace can be
an important place for learning and development, and in which knowledge
can be created (Avis, 2010: 171). A discussion of the various types of
workplace learning is included in this paper, namely those which fall under
the category of formal, informal and unconscious. Research shows that 80%
of the learning occurs informally through self-directed learning, networking,
coaching and mentoring (Yeo, 2008: 318). However, there may be obstacles
that can hinder learning at the place of work. Examples of these obstacles are
also tackled in this paper.
Keywords: Workplace Learning, Situated Learning, Communities of
Working is interconnected with learning and consequently,
workplace learning is the way in which skills are upgraded and knowledge is
acquired at the place of work. The literature in this paper concerns
workplace learning and offers different definitions. Broadly speaking
however, it can be defined as the acquisition of knowledge or skills by
formal or informal means that occurs in the workplace. According to Collin
et al (2011) learning in the workplace is perceived as an ever-present
practice that occurs through customary work systems (2011: 303).
Workplace learning mostly occurs through work-related interactions,
and is generally described as contributing to the learning of both the
individual employee and the organisation as a whole (Collin et al, 2011: 303;
Doornbos et al, 2008: 131; Felstead et al, 2005: 360, 363; Fenwick, 2008a:
228). Fenwick (2008b) defines workplace learning as occurring through the
relations and dynamics between ‘individual actors’ and ‘collectives’ (2008b:
19). Moreover, workplace learning can enhance skills that may lead to
European Scientific Journal May 2015 /SPECIAL/ edition Vol.1 ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e - ISSN 1857- 7431
formal qualifications, as well as informal narrowly focused skills (Stroud &
Fairbrother, 2006: 458). Research shows that 80% of the work-related
learning occurs informally and this includes self-directed learning,
networking, coaching and mentoring (Yeo, 2008: 318). Therefore,
workplace learning can include formal elements but is predominantly
informal in nature, and is often incorporated into workplace social
interactions and everyday practices.
According to some authors, workplace learning is also ‘culturally
bound’, meaning that the skills that an employee learns represent the
requirements of his or her tasks within the organisation (Muhammad & Idris,
2005: 65). Moreover, much evidence shows that people learn more from
each other and through finding solutions for their day-to-day problems at the
workplace (Felstead et al, 2005: 368; Hager & Johnsson, 2009: 497;
Silverman, 2003: 15). In this regard, it is often argued that the most
important source of information, from which one can learn, is the existing
job predecessor. An experienced person is commonly described as the best
source of information about a new job wherein he or she can inform about
the challenges of and changes required to a task (Silverman, 2003: 14). In
addition, workplace learning can be identified as a two-way representation in
which employers and employees can mutually address skills development
through a process of social discourse in relation to the workplace.
Categories of Workplace Learning that Involve Intervention
Workplace learning is more concerned with informal learning rather
than formal education and qualifications. However, methods of workplace
learning may take many forms and, according to Silverman (2003), these can
be categorised into three types that involve a learning intervention of some
sort: in-house training, experience-based learning opportunities and training
through coaching and mentoring, and continuous learning (2003: 2).
In-house training involves planned learning activities that take place
near the job or outside work. Here, the organisation provides either short
training courses at the workplace setting or information and communication
proceedings that have a learning element. Trainers are usually from the
organisation itself or from external entities.
According to Silverman (2003), experience-based learning is an on-
the-job learning activity that is supported and evaluated, mostly through
coaching and mentoring (2003: 4). However, Eraut (2000) states that
experience-based learning often occurs in an either unplanned or in an
unaware manner during the usual day-to-day tasks (2000: 115). In the case
of learning that is supported and evaluated, one or more employees are
identified as people who trainees and other employees can go to for advice.
Experience-based learning may also take the form of job rotation and
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increased autonomy. Here an employee is given a somewhat straightforward
task and then gradually shifts to more intricate tasks along with the relative
responsibility and autonomy.
In their study, Bishop et al (2006) hypothesized that the belief that
once employees are empowered, they will use that increased autonomy in a
responsible way, could be an important part of a learning-supportive culture.
Other studies show that lower level employees are often ready for greater
autonomy than they usually exercise and are eager to learn how to participate
in decision-making related to their tasks (Silverman, 2003: 17). It is often
argued that mentoring provides opportunities for peers to help novices
become experts (Yeo, 2008: 318). In this regard a skilled employee guides
the learner in carrying out particular tasks. Another method would be for a
trainee to work beside an experienced employee to observe and learn.
Experience-based learning may also push employees to learn
informally through discussions with customers, suppliers and other external
stakeholders of the organisation. Eraut (2000) mentions thereactive’ kind
of learning in which learning is explicit but takes place impulsively in
response to recent, current or forthcoming situations without any time being
specifically reserved for it (2000: 115). This type of learning, which is not
supported or evaluated, is a process that occurs normally involuntarily and
Continuous learning may include a group of employees working
together to identify how to improve certain processes, either formally or
informally. Accounts such as those above promote the view that continuous
learning occurs where the work environment is all the time focused on the
learning of new skills and knowledge and largely free of political conflict. In
this scenario employees are continuously encouraged and provided with
resources to learn for themselves from e.g. books, manuals, videos and
computer-based learning. In addition, the study of Fuller & Unwin (2003)
on expansive learning illustrates that organisations that offer an open
approach to apprenticeship are more expected to form learning opportunities
(2003: 412).
Informal/Unconscious Workplace Learning
According to Doornbos et al (2008) and Mallon et al (2005)
workplace learning is predominantly informal or unconscious and is a purely
situated, tacit, informal, and social process (2005: 4; 2008: 130). Likewise,
Yeo (2008) argues that informal learning is usually unintentional and it may
occur with or without the encouragement of the organisation (2008: 318).
Doornbos et al (2008) further argue that people can learn implicitly and are
able to distinguish the changes in their thoughts and behaviours at a later
stage (2008: 130).
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The notion ofSpontaneous learning’ is identified by Doornbos et al
(2008) wherein learning occurs when actions are executed with another
objective in mind other than learning (2008: 131). This occurs when the
related action is itself unintentional, or when an action is intended but not
with the precise objective of learning. Doornbos et al (2008) describe the
changes in knowledge and skills as a result of such actions asby-products,
discovery, coincidence, or sudden realization’ (2008: 131). In their study,
Rowold & Kauffeld (2009) identified that constant informal learning
activities assisted employees most in increasing their relevant work-related
competencies (2009: 97). Therefore, the results of their study highlight the
significance of informal workplace learning.
Lave & Wenger’s Situated Learning
Maybe the most common theory of the meaning of learning at work
stands with Lave & Wenger’s (1991) book on situated learning, which has
guided and helped researchers understand the meaning of workplace learning
and apprenticeships. In their book, Lave & Wenger emphasise two concepts,
namely ‘Communities of Practice’ andLegitimate Peripheral Participation’,
wherein they provide insights on the meaning of workplace learning, mostly
apprenticeships (Fuller et al, 2005). TheCommunities of Practice’ concept
relates to the action of participating in social practices that leads to a sense of
belonging within a community (Avis, 2010: 173; Clarke, 2005: 191; Fuller et
al, 2005: 4; Fuller & Unwin, 2003: 3; Lave & Wenger, 1991: 98; Yeo, 2008:
318). These communities may include some sort of uniformity or diversity in
their structure and may also be either organised or made up voluntarily
(Chang et al 2009: 409).
Employees are able to learn from their participation in the everyday
activities of a community (Fenwick, 2008b: 20) and it is argued that
communities of practice aid individuals to learn and consequently to perform
better at the workplace (Chang et al, 2009: 410-11). Several critiques were
presented regarding this concept such as the lack of analysis on the politics,
comradeship, and form of a community, the lack of attention on the
development of the knowledge within the community during periods of
change that are expeditive and, the lack of consideration on the innovation
offered by the community and the agency/structure actions within (Fenwick,
2008a: 235; Fenwick, 2008b: 21; Fuller et al, 2005: 15-16). Therefore,
communities of practice are regarded as very important since they create a
link between the individual and organisational learning (van Winkelen &
McKenzie, 2007: 531). In this regard Newman (1985) suggests that trust and
openness should be fostered between the different departments of an
organisation (1985: 208). Thus, if an organisation is to succeed, it is
important that communities of practice are fostered within, and that these
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share the knowledge by allowing these information flows to continue
(Coakes & Clarke, 2006: 75).
Obstacles to Workplace Learning
Organisations consist of individual agents of organisational learning,
of which behaviour is shaped by the social systems they are embedded in
(Easterby-Smith et al, 2000: 787). These social systems are also learning
systems that can inhibit learning due to the organisational politics, which
may result in lack of shared knowledge as illustrated by Newman (1985).
According to Collin et al (2011) social relations also include power issues to
some extent (2011: 303), which are also politically based. In his study,
Newman identified invisible walls between different units in organisations
that hindered the learning and sharing of information (1985: 208).
Collin et al (2011) argue that learning processes are central to the use
of power and control since workplace learning is seen as linking individual
and social realms (2011: 302). As such, learning and power become linked
during the tangential doing and shared custom through which workplace
culture become mutual, both in isolation and as a group (Collin et al, 2011:
303). Organisational politics can impede learning and as such, workplace
learning is not a neutral process for the organisation or the worker (Mallon et
al, 2005: 8).
An example illustrated by Silverman (2003) states that, in
organisations, managers are rewarded for the possession of a skill,
knowledge and understanding, and not for disseminating these important
resources to their subordinates (2003: 16). Therefore, organisational politics
may influence how these are accessed and controlled. Undoubtedly, this is
not only applicable to managers but also to lower level employees who may
feel the need to protect and control their skills due to the status and influence
that the same skills give them. Some other forms of barriers for workplace
learning, especially informal learning, may include lack of respect from the
new employee towards an experienced employee, individuals who hold back
information from their colleagues out of fear of being seen as a surplus and
passing erroneous information to new employees with the aim of harming
them (Billet, 1995: 24-25).
It is interesting to note that Lave & Wenger’s theory does not explore
in depth the issue of hindrance and politics and thus, this is a major
limitation of their theory in connection with the current research being
carried out (Fuller et al, 2005: 15). In this regard evidence shows that
learning situations may have considerable power inequalities (Collin et al,
2011; Malcolm et al, 2003: 5). In addition, if employees lack trust in the
organisation they work with, they would tend to keep the skills and
knowledge acquired to themselves in order to protect their job and position
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within the organisation (Ashton & Sung, 2002: 21; Fenwick, 2008a: 233;
Kirwan, 2009: 117).
As discussed in the above sections, workplace learning is
conventionally seen as a means of improving the skills of employees and
enhancing their knowledge, and the learning involved may be either formal
or informal. Formal learning, which consists of qualifications and certified
training, is no longer seen as the sole method of learning. Formally-acquired
qualifications are becoming viewed more in terms of a wider structure that
concerns workplaces and the employees, educational institutions and various
communities within organisations. At the same time, informal learning at the
workplace is becoming an increasingly important tool for training
employees. Both formal and informal learning may benefit either the
organisation or the individual or both (Crouse et al, 2011; Lancaster, 2009).
However, such benefits are not automatic. According to Silverman (2003)
organisations do not always benefit from workplace learning and the
progress features of workplace learning must be taken into consideration that
can be hindered by careerism, apprehension, pressure, obsequiousness and
unsolved divergences (2003: 15).
Bishop et al (2006) state that there are strong indications that cultures
put forth a great influence on the amount and kind of learning that takes
place (2006: 21). This is especially concerned with assumptions about what
comprisesvaluable knowledge, dealing with the latest knowledge, the
appropriatelocation of knowledge in an organisation or group, and the
shape and role of social interactions (Bishop et al, 2006: 21). All these
appear to have a deep effect on workplace learning. Additionally, in their
study, Fuller & Unwin (2003) identified that the expansive or restrictive
learning approaches of the organisations they studied are the result of an
innate chronological, socio-cultural, organisational and economic practices
that are hard to imitate (2003: 424).
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... De este modo, a diferencia de los aprendizajes formales que se adquieren en el salón de clases, el tipo de aprendizaje que se promueve en la estadía es considerado informal (Cacciattolo, 2015), no formal (Yeo, 2008), situado (Lave y Wenger, 1991), de conocimientos tácitos (Eraut, 2000) y otros calificativos como aprendizaje incidental (Garrick, 1998), espontáneo (Cacciattolo, 2015) o aprendizaje basado en la experiencia (Bould et al., 2011). ...
... De este modo, a diferencia de los aprendizajes formales que se adquieren en el salón de clases, el tipo de aprendizaje que se promueve en la estadía es considerado informal (Cacciattolo, 2015), no formal (Yeo, 2008), situado (Lave y Wenger, 1991), de conocimientos tácitos (Eraut, 2000) y otros calificativos como aprendizaje incidental (Garrick, 1998), espontáneo (Cacciattolo, 2015) o aprendizaje basado en la experiencia (Bould et al., 2011). ...
... De acuerdo con estos autores, el aprendizaje en el lugar del trabajo involucra un aprendizaje no planeado ni dirigido que se despliega a manera de habilidades y destrezas como resultado de la interacción social y durante la búsqueda de soluciones a los problemas cotidianos que se suceden en la organización, que sólo pueden ser "evaluados" a través del monitoreo y el couching (Cacciattolo, 2015). ...
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Este trabajo tiene como propósito, examinar la influencia de las estadías en las empresas, en la rápida y muy exitosa inserción al empleo que logran los técnicos superiores universitarios (TSU) e ingenieros egresados de las Universidades Tecnológicas (UT). El interés por esta indagación surgió de los sugerentes hallazgos y resultados obtenidos en cuatro investigaciones que se llevaron a cabo entre 2006 y 2018 sobre el empleo, situación laboral y destinos ocupacionales de los graduados de estas instituciones. Tomando en cuenta que las investigaciones se llevaron a cabo en UT localizadas en distintas ciudades y la aplicación de entrevistas en profundidad se hizo a TSU e Ingenieros graduados de diferentes carreras, una visión de conjunto de los resultados obtenidos arroja evidencias muy consistentes sobre la importancia que poseen las estadías en las empresas, en el aprendizaje informal de conocimientos tácitos y habilidades sociales que son estratégicos en la empleabilidad de los egresados. Se concluye que, en las estadías en las empresas, se promueve el aprendizaje en el lugar del trabajo.
... Training results were assessed and recorded. Similar to the previous finding, the learning in this phase was characterized by intendedness and formality (Cacciattolo, 2015). This study echoes Cacciattolo's (2015) argument that formality and deliberation are necessary for workplace learning to maximize their effect. ...
... Similar to the previous finding, the learning in this phase was characterized by intendedness and formality (Cacciattolo, 2015). This study echoes Cacciattolo's (2015) argument that formality and deliberation are necessary for workplace learning to maximize their effect. Indeed, the training on basic skills was highly effective, as most interns reported they could independently carry out work duties within two months, even though new position-based skills were sporadically reported in later periods of the internship. ...
This study explores skill acquisition during a six-month-long work-based hotel internship program. Specifically, it examines what skills are learned by interns, the succession of skill acquisition, and the extent to which interns are trained as future managers. Narrative analysis is conducted with 344 longitudinal work reflections of 21 interns from 12 upscale hotels. Three layers of learning outcomes are discovered. The acquisition of position-based ability precedes hospitality ability; self-development occurs across the six months and is confirmed at the end of the internship. The technical skills that a future manager needs are most effectively learned. The human skills of a prospective manager are improved albeit challenges.
... This study investigates how students training to become radiographers learn at their clinical workplace. In this paper, workplace learning is understood as both individual and collective learning processes in interactions with the culture in practice (Cacciattolo, 2015). Individual learning depends on the learner's own motivation and personal conditions for learning, and collective learning refers to culture and organisational factors that influence learning in workplaces (Billet, 2009;Billet & Smith, 2006;Billett, 2008aBillett, , 2008b. ...
... In breakdowns during communications with patients, a similar process occurred. The learning processes that took place in the discussion with others in practice afterwards can be seen as essential informal learning processes (Cacciattolo, 2015). It also shows the relational and interactional parts of learning in workplaces. ...
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Radiographers work with image production in medical imaging, a professional field that is undergoing rapid technical development. There is a need to understand how students in radiography education learn within this evolving practice. The aim of this paper is to investigate how radiography students learn professional knowledge in practice during clinical placements. Data collection was through qualitative design using observations and individual interviews. The theoretical framework for the study was a practice-orientated approach. Three themes describing the learning in practice of radiography students emerged as the final result. 1) Attuning to practice: Learning through listening and observing showed how students reconstruct prior knowledge into practical knowing and learn the situated practice. 2) Embodied knowing: Learning through acting in practice illustrated how students reconstructed prior embodied knowledge through their own acting in practice. 3) Dealing with the unexpected: Learning from breakdowns explains how students learn in situations in which unexpected things happen with materiality or relations. On these occasions, relationships with other people were important for developing the students’ knowing about the relationship between materiality, actions and people practicing radiography. This study it gives insight into radiography students’ learning during clinical placement, which can be useful for planning curricula, as well as clinical learning in radiography education.
... Teachers who work abroad are expected to adapt to the country in which they are working and to the workplace culture, and they are also expected to understand specific workplace needs. This adaptation process which is often informal and subconscious can be described as a workplace learning process, and it occurs while working (Cacciattolo, 2015;Cairns and Malloch, 2011;Illeris, 2018;Olsen and Tikkanen, 2018). Learning takes place in a dynamic context that includes individuals' learning processes and social activity (Cacciattolo, 2015;Illeris, 2004;Patton, Higgs, and Smith, 2013). ...
... This adaptation process which is often informal and subconscious can be described as a workplace learning process, and it occurs while working (Cacciattolo, 2015;Cairns and Malloch, 2011;Illeris, 2018;Olsen and Tikkanen, 2018). Learning takes place in a dynamic context that includes individuals' learning processes and social activity (Cacciattolo, 2015;Illeris, 2004;Patton, Higgs, and Smith, 2013). Learning in the workplace depends on the individual and his/her role as an active, legitimate participant in the setting, previous experiences, motivation and orientation toward self-determination for learning (Illeris, 2018A;Ryan and Deci, 2000). ...
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Introduction and Aims: Professionals working abroad as part of a partnership program is a central act of internationalization among higher education institutions. Little research has been carried out on this topic. The goal of this study was, therefore, to explore, describe and discuss the workplace learning factors – especially cultural factors – influencing Norwegian physiotherapy teachers, working in an international partnership project at a women’s university in Sudan. Methods: The study had a qualitative case-study design, intended to provide an in-depth understanding of workplace learning processes. We used a multifaceted approach which included individual interviews and document analyses. Results: We identified individual, social and institutional factors that influenced workplace learning. Culture is decisive at all levels, and knowledge, skills and attitudes are culturally situated. The Norwegian teachers’ learning was found to be dependent on both internal and external factors and the pre- and post-project periods. Conclusion: This study shows that a workplace perspective on the experience of Norwegian physiotherapy teachers gives us a better understanding of the important factors, associated with such a project. Working abroad not only requires preparation on the part of the sending and host institution but also from the person working abroad (prior to, during and after the stay abroad) if workplace learning is to occur.
... Collaborative learning is defined as teaching or learning activities that promote an individual's own learning and that of others in small groups (two to five students) or collaboration (cooperation) to achieve common goals [12,13]. In CL, learning is a dynamic process involving interaction between individual students' drive to learn and a social activity in a specific context [14][15][16]. While students in CL are mutually dependent on one another, to be able to discuss and reflect and thus achieve a deeper understanding of the subject matter, they learn from one another through reflection in the situation and on the situation [17][18][19][20]. ...
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Background The ability to learn collaboratively and work in teams is an essential competency in both educational and healthcare settings, and collaborative student activities are acknowledged as being an important part of the pedagogical approach in higher education and teaching. The course that was the focus of this research, a 15-ECTS-credit online course in philosophy of science, ethics, and research methods, was offered online as part of 11 master’s-level health programmes at a university in Norway. Collaborative learning in combination with digital teaching tools was the preferred pedagogical approach in the online course. The aim of the study was to describe, explore and discuss how the students collaborated in small groups in an online course to learn. Methods We performed six focus groups and 13 individual interviews from February 2018 to May 2019, conducting a qualitative case study with a content analysis of the data collected. The participants were master students in the same faculty at a university in Norway. All the included participants had fulfilled the 15 ECTS credit course. Results Our study revealed that the collaboration in small groups resulted in three different working processes, depending on the students’ ability to be flexible and take responsibility for their own and common learning. The three different working processes that emerged from our data were 1. joint responsibility – flexible organization; 2. individual responsibility – flexible organization; and 3. individual responsibility – unorganized. None of the groups changed their working process during their course, even though some experienced their strategy as inadequate. Conclusions Our study showed that despite similar factors such as context, assignments and student autonomy, the students chose different collaboration strategies to accomplish the online course learning objectives. Each group chose their own working process, but only the strategy 1. joint responsibility – flexible organization seemed to promote collaboration, discussion, and team work to complete the complex assignments in the online course. The result from our study may be helpful in designing and planning future online courses; hence online learning requires a focus on how students collaborate and learn online, to gain knowledge and understanding through group discussion.
... Workplace is a formal and informal place where one learns, develops, creates, acquires or enhances knowledge. 8 In the context of this discourse, our major concern is that victims who profess faith ought to put their faith/religion in view before conceding to any form of sexual harassment at any time; except it was committed unexpectedly and/or forcefully. Possibly, if that is done conscientiously, there could be less report of sexually harassed victims and that might serve as a way of preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. ...
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Sexual harassment/assault is a traumatic event, which could reduce the well-being and might occasion less or increased spiritual roles of the victim. Doubtless, humans are spiritual and often times affiliates/adherents of particular faiths. However, the philosophy of a higher or lower spiritual inclination, in consequence of sexual harassment, might be possible if the victims consider the demands of their faith before or after the occurrence of the sexual act; particularly, if the victim was in a position to take an action that could avert or mitigate the harassment/assault. It could also be a case of struggling with the act and the spiritual life, or a situation where the faith of such victim is challenged for overt or covert reasons, which culminated in succumbing to the harassment. Therefore, this research examined whether spirituality influences the decision of victims before falling prey to sexual harassment or not; which could be termed bold or timid, from the faith perspective. In addressing the issues raised in this study, the doctrinal research methodology was adopted. This involved exploring books and journal articles in hardcopy and electronic formats on spirituality, sexual harassment, and other cognate fields. The paper endeavoured to substantiate that some sexually harassed victims succumbed to sexual harassment or assault not because they were not spiritually inclined, but due to several factors, especially lack of faith or doubt in the spirituality. The Christian religion was predicated upon for the discourse, and the Nigeria society used as case study, for the ease of reference. The study made some viable recommendations simultaneously with the discussion, to help prevent people from further falling prey to sexual harassment/assault, as they leverage on faith to assume responsibility for their individual well-being in the workplace and elsewhere.
... Workplace learning generally can be defined as the process of acquiring skills and knowledge formally or informally in the workplace settings. It excludes the formal learning process and formal professional training that leads to an individual's upgrade in certified qualification (Cacciattolo, 2015). Silverman (2003) categorized this learning process into three types, the in-house training, experienced-based learning, and continuous learning. ...
Tanzania’s education system has been passing through different changes in its policies and strategic implementation plans. As a result, improvements in various areas, such as increased students’ enrolment rate, improved pass rates, and improved infrastructure at all levels have been realized. This pilot study aimed at understanding the awareness and perception of policymakers, employers, instructors, and students of the importance of policies in integrating workplace learning and technical higher education. With the main question being, how stakeholders in the education sector perceive the importance of policies in integrating workplace learning and technical higher education. In order to answer the above question, a qualitative study with semi-structured interviews was conducted with policymakers, employers, instructors, and students. Most of the interviewees stated that policies have significant roles in ensuring the smooth integration and implementation of these two learning modes. On the other side, several challenges were mentioned in policy implementation and realization of the strategic plans. These challenges were categorized as those related to the public’s and students’ awareness and readiness, financial constraints, educational institutes’ readiness, and operationalization of the organizations and educational institutes. From this pilot study, insightful information is gained on the importance of having policies that take into account all main stakeholders in higher education.
... It is often described as activities that support learning in through and from practise in real time. (Cacciattolo, 2015). ...
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is important in generating and sustaining capability and in ensuring high quality, person-centred, safe and effective nursing care. In the UK, changes to models of funding for nursing CPD have raised concerns about the opportunities available for nurses to meet the requirements for revalidation of registration, their ability to provide adequate supervision of future students in relation to the new NMC standards of proficiency, and the potential impact of reductions in CPD access to nursing recruitment and retention. Contemporary evidence suggests that it is not only the opportunity to access CPD that is important to the provision of quality care, but also the ability to transform knowledge and skills learnt into practice within diverse practice settings. The purpose of CPD therefore is not only transformation of an individual’s practice but also transformation of workplace culture and context. For the purpose of this report, we follow Manley and Jackson (2020) in suggesting that transformation “implies radical ways of doing things to reflect the values aspired to; it is not about quick wins or key performance indicators.” There is then a need to understand the evidence about what factors maximise CPD impact at the individual, team, organisational and system level. Following initial scoping work, the Strategic Research Alliance (SRA) working group, in consultation with Professor Kim Manley and Carolyn Jackson, agreed to complete a rapid review to consider this evidence focusing on the specific question: "What are the factors that enable or optimise CPD impact for learning, development and improvement in the workplace at the individual, team, organisation and system level?"
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Background In medical students’ workplace learning, feedback is important for effective learning regarding communication and clinical skills. The provision of multisource feedback (MSF) in clinical practice with focus on the patient’s perspective is rarely addressed in the literature. The overall objective was to explore the experience of MSF in medical students’ clinical learning in primary healthcare (PHC). Methods In the study, patients provided feedback by use of the Patient Feedback in Clinical Practice (PFCP) questionnaire. By use of adapted PFCP questionnaire versions peers and clinical supervisors provided feedback and students performed a self-evaluation. The MSF learning activity was evaluated using surveys (4-point Likert scale/open-ended questions), (students ( n = 26), peers ( n = 9) and clinical supervisors ( n = 7)). Data were analysed using descriptive and qualitative content analysis. Results Results (mean 4-point Likert scale) from participants evaluation of the MSF learning activity visualises the value of feedback in terms of patient-centred communication (students 3.50, peers 2.44 and clinical supervisors 3.57), guidance for further training (students 3.14, peers 2.89 and clinical supervisors 3.00) and clarification of pedagogical assignment (students 3.14, peers 2.89 and clinical supervisors 3.00). Thematic analysis of participants’ free-text answers in the evaluation surveys resulted in three themes: (1) applicability of the MSF, (2) MSF – collaborative learning process and (3) MSF as a facilitator in students’ clinical skills development. The participants experienced that the written MSF provided multi-facetted perspectives, which contributed to students’ and peers’ clinical and communication learning. MSF experience also enhanced clinical supervisors’ feedback regarding communication skills, targeting the supervisors’ pedagogical assignment. Conclusion Our findings indicate that MSF provided directly after a patient encounter, using the PFCP questionnaire as feedback provider, could be an adequate learning activity for medical students’ workplace learning. The MSF, provided through the PFCP questionnaire, was experienced to neutralise and operationalise the provision of concrete feedback, facilitating peers’ learning and clinical supervisors’ tuition. The results visualise the importance of patients in MSF, as a valuable resource in students’ workplace learning. Our study implies that this learning activity could be an applicable tool to facilitate learning and pedagogic development in clinical education in PHC.
Knowledge transfer is a vital component in the growth and advancement of any industry. Manufacturing SMEs, who played a major role in a nation’s economy, relied heavily on relational capital need to capitalise on this resource to further enhance their competitiveness. One of the proposed methods is through knowledge transfer. Hence, this study endeavors to analyse the relationship between relational capital and knowledge transfer, and the role of knowledge transfer as the mediator between relational capital and competitive capabilities in the area of competitive pricing and quality. This study proposes that firms that promote knowledge transfer in their organisations will have improved competitive capabilities than firms that do not. Using the result from a total sample of 145 manufacturing SMEs survey showed that the relationship between a firm’s relational capital has a positive and significant relationship with knowledge transfer. Also, the study found that knowledge transfer played the role of mediator between relational capital and competitive capabilities in relation to the quality, but not for competitive pricing.
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In this article we describe various ways in which power is exercised between personnel in a hospital operating theatre. We aim to investigate how the forms of discursive power and workplace learning are intertwined with each other by utilizing an ethnographic approach in the fieldwork. Our data were collected mainly through observations and interviews with surgical residents, physicians and nurses. In the article we describe the delicate ways in which power is exercised and resisted in everyday practices. We argue that there is a close relationship between learning and manifestations of power, together with the various forms of these manifestations and the restrictions that may be placed on them. Additionally, we show how learning takes place in terms of finding, experimenting with and transgressing participatory agency among nurses and residents in the work community.
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This paper explores the issue of the development of people's capability at work. The case study reported here - on a wine company in New Zealand -is the first empirical phase of a large research project, Developing human capability: employment institutions, organizations and individuals. The aim of this project is to explore the optimal conditions for the development of the capability of workers in New Zealand organisations, taking account of issues at the level of government policy and practice, industrial relations frameworks, organisational HR structures and practices, and individual engagement with learning at work. The primary focus of this paper is exploring the interaction of the types of opportunities the company offers for the development of individuals' capability, and the engagement of workers at various levels with those opportunities. The paper begins with an overview of the wine industry in which this case study is located and goes on to review literature about the workplace as an environment for learning and for the development of capability. This section concludes with the research questions to be explored through the case analysis. We then briefly describe our methodology before moving on to discuss our results, where we explore how affordances for development are differentially distributed within the company and how individual agency mediates the extent to which individuals proactively seek out development opportunities or attempt to resist them.
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A review was conducted of literature addressing learning in work, focusing on relations between individual and collective learning published in nine journals during the period 1999—2004. The journals represent three distinct fields of management/ organization studies, adult education and human resource development; all publish material about workplace learning regularly. In total, 209 articles were selected for content analysis, containing a range of material including reports of empirical research to theoretical discussion. Eight themes of individual—collective learning were identified through inductive content analysis of this literature: individual knowledge acquisition, sense-making/reflective dialogue, levels of learning, network utility, individual human development, individuals in community, communities-of-practice and co-participation or co-emergence. The discussion highlights similar issues stated in the different journals about understanding individual—collective learning, the apparent lack of dialogue across the fields, the ontological and ideological differences among the themes of learning currently in circulation and the low frequency of analysis of power relations in the articles reviewed.
This article explores the strengths and weaknesses of Lave and Wenger's concept of 'legitimate peripheral participation' as a means of understanding workplace learning. It draws on recent ESRC-funded research by the authors in contemporary workplace settings in the UK (manufacturing industry and secondary schools) to establish the extent to which Lave and Wenger's theories can adequately illuminate the nature and process of learning at work. The new research presented here, which was located in complex institutional settings, highlights the diverse nature of patterns and forms of participation. Case study evidence is used to identify individual and contextual factors which underpin and illuminate the ways in which employees learn. The paper argues that whilst Lave and Wenger's work continues to provide an important source of theoretical insight and inspiration for research in to learning at work, it has significant limitations. These limitations relate to the application of their perspective to contemporary workplaces in advanced industrial societies and to the institutional environments in which people work. These complex settings play a crucial role in the configuration of opportunities and barriers to learning that employees encounter.
Recently the role of human resource management (HRM) practitioners has become more professionalized and more strategic. Consequently, HRM practitioners have had to develop new competencies in areas such as change management, influence and technology. Workplace learning, which is important for professional development, is examined for 13 HRM practitioners in government, healthcare, post-secondary education and business organizations in the Halifax Regional Municipality area. Of particular interest were learning strategies, barriers to and facilitators of learning and outcomes of learning. To obtain rich data, practitioners were interviewed face to face using an interview guide. Results indicated that these practitioners are mostly similar to other professional groups in terms of workplace learning, with a few key differences. The similarities and differences are presented, and implications of these findings for HRM practitioners and future directions for research are discussed.
Increasingly the importance of developing an appropriate learning environment in order to foster workplace learning is dominating organizational agendas. Yet much of the literature often lacks empirical support to underpin those conditions suggested as comprising an effective learning climate or suffers conceptually from failing to specify more clearly the nature of workplace learning. As a result, it is difficult to explain how or why differing aspects of an organization's learning environment should influence particular learning outcomes. Findings presented here demonstrate that (1) a supportive training and development infrastructure, (2) empowerment and effective communication, (3) opportunities for reflection and job challenge and (4) opportunities for formal and informal learning are associated with different types of learning outcomes associated with either workplace learning or training. The results suggest that, dependent on the types of learning outcomes desired by organizations, different aspects of the workplace environment are likely to be important in fostering an effective learning climate.
Situated learning theory provides a rich conceptual framework for analysing the processes by which apprentices become (full) participants in a community of practice. This article uses case study evidence from the UK's Modern Apprenticeship programme to show how this framework can be developed by identifying features of expansive and restrictive participation which help distinguish between different approaches to apprenticeship. We suggest that three inter-related themes (participation, personal development and institutional arrangements) underpin an expansive/restrictive continuum. The analysis is used to categorise company approaches to apprenticeship according to their expansive and restrictive characteristics, and to illustrate the variable learning opportunities that are being created for apprentices under the Modern Apprenticeship.
Purpose – The present study aims to examine how employees' formal (e.g. off-the-job training) and informal (e.g. discussion with colleagues) career-related continuous learning (CRCL) activities affect the development of self-reported work-related competencies. Design/methodology/approach – Participants were 372 employees working in one of 19 companies from a wide range of industries in Germany. Findings – Results revealed that informal CRCL affected professional, method, and social competencies. In addition, employees' participation in formal CRCL activities that focused on social issues was positively related to social competencies. Three types of competencies (professional, method, and social) are distinguished in the present study. Research limitations/implications – Additional influences on competency such as motivation and commitment should be controlled for in future studies. Also, competencies should be rated by supervisors. Objective measures of formal CRCL should be assessed. Practical implications – Organizations that aim to enchance employees' level of competencies should invest in informal CRCL and formal CRCL activities that focus on social competencies. The fact that the study was conducted in a variety of firms supports the idea that the findings could be generalized to other industrial settings. Originality/value – To the authors' knowledge, this study is the first to demonstrate positive effects of CRCL on employees' levels of social competencies. In addition, the value of informal CRCL for the development of competencies was highlighted.