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Learning What you Really, Really Want: Towards a Conceptual Framework of New Learning in the Digital Work Environment

  • Niedersächsischer Fußballverband


Digitization and globalization are leading to changing demands in the world of work. To cope with these, employees must constantly learn and develop. Analogous to the New Work movement, the future of learning seems to belong to New Learning, in which protean and empowered learners pursue learning opportunities to achieve subjectively valuable learning outcomes and personal growth. This meaningful and socially-embedded kind of learning enables learners to learn what they really, really want to learn. In the literature, however, there is a lack of models and theories on New Learning. The present paper introduces a conceptual framework of New Learning building on psychological theories in terms of a causal chain whose ten propositions can be empirically examined in future studies. An important premise is that, in addition to personal characteristics of the learner, the socio-technical environment and (digital) tools and methods play an important role for New Learning. The paper concludes by setting a future research agenda and discussing the practical implications of New Learning.
Learning What you Really, Really Want: Towards a Conceptual Framework
of New Learning in the Digital Work Environment
Julian Decius
Paderborn University
Timo Kortsch
Hilko Paulsen
Anja Schmitz
Pforzheim University
Digitization and globalization are leading to
changing demands in the world of work. To cope with
these, employees must constantly learn and develop.
Analogous to the New Work movement, the future of
learning seems to belong to New Learning, in which
protean and empowered learners pursue learning
opportunities to achieve subjectively valuable learning
outcomes and personal growth. This meaningful and
socially-embedded kind of learning enables learners to
learn what they really, really want to learn. In the
literature, however, there is a lack of models and
theories on New Learning. The present paper introduces
a conceptual framework of New Learning building on
psychological theories in terms of a causal chain whose
ten propositions can be empirically examined in future
studies. An important premise is that, in addition to
personal characteristics of the learner, the socio-
technical environment and (digital) tools and methods
play an important role for New Learning. The paper
concludes by setting a future research agenda and
discussing the practical implications of New Learning.
1. Introduction
The world of work is changingnot just in recent
years, but the pace of change has accelerated throughout
the last decades [1]. Technologization, digitalization
and globalization shape modern work environments and
have an enormous impact on the what, where and how
of working. At the same time, questions concerning
meaningful work and autonomy gained in importance
[2, 3]. Reflecting these changes, the term New Work has
received attention in practice and research. Bergmann
[4], taking a critical look at the previous understanding
of employment, introduced the term and characterized
New Work as needing to contain "work that you really,
really want to do." In organizational psychology
research, Schermuly [5] picked up on the concept and
related New Work to empowerment research [6]. He
assumed that psychological empowermentthe
experience of meaning, competence, self-determination,
and impactmediates the relationship between New
Work activities and positive outcomes for performance
and health [5].
It is not only work that is changing, however, but
also why and how employees acquire competencies [7,
8]. Continuous and lifelong learning through and for
work becomes more important to meet the challenges of
the changing world of work [1, 9, 10]. At the
organizational level, companies must remain flexible
and adaptive to keep pace with global competition; at
the personal level, employees must therefore also
expand their knowledge to actively shape change and
not be replaced by other employees. But the “half time
of knowledge” has decreased in recent decades,
rendering professional knowledge obsolete more
quickly [11]. In addition to training-based formal
learning, more flexible learning forms such as informal
learning [12] and self-regulated learning [13] thus
attracted research attention. Individuals, however, have
always been learning informally, through trial and error,
feedback, and reflection; or in a self-regulated way
through setting their own learning goals, monitoring and
regulating the learning process. Thus, just as work is
changing into New Work, we assume that learning is
also evolving into New Learning. What does New
Learning look like, whichin the spirit of Bergmann
[4]emphasizes the autonomous role of the learner but
also considers the increasing demands of the volatile
world of work?
New in the world of work is, above all, associated
with the term “digital”. Digitalization offers an
incredible number of opportunities to acquire job-
relevant skills. However, digital tools are not sufficient
to already speak of New Work [5]. Equally, we cannot
reduce New Learning to the use of digital learning
toolslearners are part of social groups, and their needs
must become the focal point [14]. In the current
dynamic and volatile context, organizations do not
knowor only with delaywhich learning content is
Proceedings of the 55th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences | 2022
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(CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
needed, and when and where an individual should learn
best. It makes sense to shift the decision about the what,
when, and where of learning to the entity that has
enough information to make a meaningful decision: the
learner. If the learner has a high level of autonomy and
responsibility, following Bergmann [4], we thus might
conceptualize learning what you really, really want as
an essential component of New Learning.
However, the term "new" is currently used in an
undifferentiated and proliferating manner [5, 15].
Specifically, in the field of learning it lacks a clear
conceptualization. We therefore develop a conceptual
framework of New Learning to delineate the learning
process and influencing variables. We consider New
Learning as a process started by the perception of
learning opportunities by empowered learners [6] with
a protean career orientation (i.e., an agentic orientation
toward their own career [16]). The perception of
learning opportunities leads to the formation of a
learning intention, which in turn leads to learning
behaviors, resulting in learning outcomes. This process
is reinforced by the socio-technical work
environmentemphasizing the social embeddedness of
learningand respective (digital) work and learning
tools, as well as personal attitudes of the learner. These
influencing factors are represented as moderators in our
framework. We deduct New Learning from Bergmann’s
[4] socio-philosophical concept of New Work as well as
Schermuly’s psychological New Work theory, focusing
on empowerment. To further specify and extend these
approaches, we base our conceptualization of New
Learning on other established psychological theories
and models: Theory of Planned Behavior [17], Rubicon
Model of Action Phases [18], and Regulatory Focus
Theory [19].
Against this background, New Learning refers to
learning as a socially-embedded process in which the
protean and empowered learner seeks and utilizes
learning opportunities to engage in meaningful formal,
informal and self-regulated learning to achieve
subjectively valuable learning outcomes and personal
growth. New Learning takes place in a new societal and
organizational context brought forth by digitalization
and characterized by dynamic change, uncertainty, and
complexity. This definition underscores the importance
of balancing social and technological aspects in digital
work contexts [20, 21].
Our theoretical paper provides for the first time a
conceptual psychological framework of New Learning,
structured in ten propositions. We set the stage for future
empirical research on the concept, which has so far been
considered mainly from a practical point of view [14,
15, 22]. We also present a future research agenda that
includes possible facilitating factors for New Learning,
as well as implications from the model for practice.
2. Framework Development
We started the development of our conceptual
framework with a literature review for the term "new
learning." The search yielded a few practice-based
articles, articles from neuropsychological learning
research, and frequent use of "new" as a merely
descriptive adjective (e.g., new learning challenges).
Theoretically sound contributions on the future of
learning at work were not present. The search did,
however, reveal a first psychologically grounded
approach to “new work” [5]. We therefore decided to
take the concept of "new work" [4, 5] as the starting
point for our considerations. In setting up our
framework, we therefore followed the basic
assumptions that the empowered learner is at the center
of learning and learns things he or she wants to learn,
rather than primarily following external requirements.
Based on these rationales, we sought psychological
theories and models that would explain human attitudes,
motives, and behaviors in this specific work context. We
then established the basic conceptual chain from the
new learner’s prerequisites to the learning outcomes.
Subsequently, strove to identify possible moderators of
the specified relationships. This deductive process
resulted in ten propositions.
3. Conceptual Psychological Framework of
New Learning
The following ten propositions form the causal
chain of the conceptual psychological framework of
New Learning as shown in Figure 1. Each proposition is
introduced in sequence below.
Proposition 1. There are two important antecedents
of New Learning: protean career orientation and
psychological empowerment. High levels of protean
career orientation and psychological empowerment
increase the potential to perceive learning opportunities.
By doing so, they build a formative construct, that we
call learning opportunities perception potential (LOPP).
Protean career orientation. The concept of a protean
career addresses the employee’s long-term
development: Hall [23] conceptualized protean career as
"a process which the person, not the organization, is
managing". Central to this process is "an agentic
orientation toward one's career" (p. 201). Individuals
differ in their protean career orientation, an attitude that
comprises two central facets: self-direction and
orientation toward intrinsic values [24]. That is,
employees feel responsible for their careers, career-
related decisions, and actions. Intrinsic values such as
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autonomy, meaning and growth guide the career pursuit.
Self-direction also results in volition to pursue long-
term career goals. High levels of protean career
orientation should result in an increased awareness of
career development opportunities and employability
[25]. These career opportunities may also require
learning something [26]. High levels of protean career
orientation sharpen the lens through which individuals
perceive their environment including its offer of
learning opportunities. Consequently, high levels of
protean career orientation should increase the LOPP.
Empowerment. While protean career orientation
focuses on individual differences, empowerment is
rather linked to job characteristics, though it is just a
subjective reflection of objective job characteristics
[27]. Contrary to a widespread belief, however, New
Work is not achieved by organizations equipping their
employees with mobile technologies and providing
home office facilities. Schermuly [5] notes that sending
employees home with a smartphone for paid work is
contrary to the understanding and spirit of Bergmann's
concept [4] of work-related freedom of choice. In this
organization-driven structural empowerment approach,
the focus is on the macro level, i.e., on the company's
structures. However, since employees interpret their
work environment and work processes individually and
independently of collective structures [5], the
psychological empowerment approach is preferable for
New Work and New Learning. According to Spreitzer
[6], this multi-faceted approach includes the facets
meaning, competence, self-determination, and impact
(see also [28]). Employees with high levels of
psychological empowerment perceive their work as
valuable, experience competence and autonomy. So,
they may enrich their work with learning opportunities.
Consequently, psychological empowerment should
increase the potential to perceive learning opportunities.
Proposition 2. It is important to note, that neither
protean career orientation nor psychological
empowerment provide learning opportunities. Both are
personal characteristics that are antecedents of the
LOPP. We conceptualize the LOPP as a stable but still
malleable personal factor, which serves as a cognitive
and motivational filter. This filter shapes the
individual’s perception within their work environment
and helps to identify attractive learning opportunities in
specific situations. More specifically, self-direction
leads to a proactive seeking for learning opportunities,
value orientation leads to recognizing attractive learning
opportunities, and empowerment leads to evaluating the
feasibility of learning (cf. [6, 29, 30]). A high LOPP
increases the probability to recognize learning
opportunitiesbut in a situation without any objective
learning opportunities, an individual cannot perceive
any learning opportunity. However, in situations with an
average amount of learning opportunities, high levels of
LOPP will result in high levels of perceived learning
opportunities, whereas low levels of LOPP will result in
low levels of perceived learning opportunities.
Proposition 3. The socio-technical environment is
an important moderator in the relationship between
LOPP and perceived learning opportunities. As
described, the LOPP serves as a filter that allows
objectively available learning opportunities to become
perceived learning opportunitieshowever, how well
this filter works depends not only on the filter quality
Figure 1. Conceptual Framework of New Learning
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but also on whether it is used in a “filter-friendly” or
“filter-hostile” environment. One key aspect of the
environment's "filter-friendliness" is the digitalization
of work. The higher the digitalization within a socio-
technical system, the higher are learning demands and
opportunities. New technologies, for instance, require
the acquisition of new skills (cf. [31]). It is important to
note that digitalization is by far more than just the usage
of new technologies. Digitalization affects the broader
socio-technical system and has an impact on
organizational structures and processes, and in turn
requires new roles from employees [21, 32, 33]. That is,
with increased digitalization, working conditions (e. g.,
complexity, autonomy) and processes will change (e.g.,
new work tasks) and provide learning opportunities in a
broader way. The usage of digital information
technology enables collaboration between teams within
an organization and beyond organizational structures.
However, these changes are just perceived as learning
opportunities if LOPP is high. In contrast, in conditions
of lower LOPP due to low protean career orientation or
a lack of psychological empowerment, the same
changes may be appraised as hindering demands rather
than opportunities (cf. [34]). The socio-technical
environment also comprises social factors such as
organizational cultures [35] as well as supervisor and
co-worker support. A positive learning culture shapes
the values of and basic assumptions about learning and
facilitate individual learning [36]. Within organizations
that value learning, the link between LOPP and
perceived learning opportunities is higher. Supervisor
and co-worker support are important environmental
factors for learning and application of knowledge in
practice [37]. Furthermore, human resource
management and its practices influence the perception
of learning opportunities [38].
Proposition 4. Perceived learning opportunities
make the learner develop a learning intention, i.e., the
concrete behavioral intention to engage in learning
behavior. Perceived learning opportunities can be
considered affordances to learn (cf. [39]), i.e., perceived
learning opportunities encourage a person to learn. For
example, if someone perceives that coworker support is
available and that learning from errors is a desired
behavior, they are more likely to learn from them [40].
Following the action phase model, perceived learning
opportunities can be assigned to the predecisional phase
[18]. Encouraged to learn by a learning opportunity and
having formed a concrete learning intention, the learner
"crosses the Rubicon". The learner enters the
preactional phase, in which it is no longer a question of
whether something is learned, but how it is learned.
Proposition 5. As stated before, we assume that the
perception of learning opportunities leads to a learning
intention. However, the strength of this relationship
depends on one important factor: enthusiasm for the
learning topic. Building on Bergmann [4] who
proclaims in his book on New Work and new culture that
the future belongs to work "that we really, really want"
(p. 121), in our opinion the future of meaningful
learning belongs to learning what you really, really
want. This kind of learning does not only satisfy the
psychological need for competence but also the need for
autonomy, and therefore promotes intrinsic motivation
[41]. In other words: The effect of perceived learning
opportunities on learning intention is moderated by this
enthusiasm for the learning topic. These positively
experienced emotions not only push the motivational
process of intention formation but can also lead to a
positive upward spiral over time as stated in the
broaden-and-build theory [42]. That is, enthusiasm for
the learning topic fuels learning and growth. Learning,
application of what has been learned, and experiencing
competence are in turn the basis for increasing
enthusiasm for further learning topics.
Proposition 6. According to the Theory of Planned
Behavior [17], an intention leads to appropriate
behavior when normative beliefs and subjective norms
do not interfere, and the individual holds the belief of
being able to control the situation. A learner capacitated
by the LOPP should have appropriate control beliefs and
learning-enhancing values due to protean career
orientation and empowerment. Accordingly, learning
intention leads to learning behavior. Learning behavior
can be defined as follows:
Engagement in mental processeslearning
eventsthat result in the acquisition and retention
of knowledge, skills, and/or affect over time and
until needed, along with the capacity to identify
conditions of performance and respond
appropriately. More colloquially, learning is an
increased capacity to do the right thing at the right
time. (p. 3 [9])
Proposition 7. The relationship between learning
intentions and learning behavior is moderated by the
availability of tools and learning resources. We assume
that a high availability of tools and resources will
strengthen the relationship between learning intention
and learning behaviors. Digitalization has led to a shift
from instruction via conventional media and methods
(books, classroom-based lectures, or training) to
computer-based media or digital tools [43], such as
enterprise social networks, learning experience
platforms, search engines, wikis, podcasts, webinars,
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instructional videos, and virtual/augmented reality
applications. In digital work environments, these tools
can be flexibly accessed by the learner in the moment of
need (anytime, anywhere, with any device), point to any
content relevant for the learner’s current area of interest,
or even provide customized feedback through wearables
[21, 44, 45]. This access to digital tools as learning
resources increases the learner’s autonomy and is
assumed to consequently facilitate learning behaviors
(cf. [46, 47]). When different learning tools and methods
are available and easily accessible for learners, learning
intent is more likely to result in learning behaviors [48,
49]. New Learning thus manifests itself in empowered
learners who use a wide array of available (digital) tools
to attain their individual learning goals [14].
Proposition 8. In the preactional phase due to the
action phase model [18], the learner's focus is on how to
translate the learning intention into behavior. Three
pathways can be distinguished in work-related learning
contexts, which lead to different learning forms during
the subsequent actional phase (cf. [50]): on the job, near
the job, and off the job (also known as in work, at work,
and outside work [51, 52, 53]).
The "on the job" pathway leads to informal learning
behaviors occurring rather casually in the work process
(e.g., [12, 46]); the "near the job" pathway leads to
learner-planned self-regulated learning (e.g.., [13, 54]),
and the "off the job" pathway leads to more structured
and planned formal learning or training (e.g., [55, 56]).
Below, we describe the three learning forms in more
Formal Learning. Formal learning refers to high
structuring in terms of learning context, learning
support, learning time, and learning objectives [57].
Formal learning activities are curricular in nature and
have a discrete beginning and end [46]. This includes
training, instruction, and other formal education. The
effectiveness of these activities depends, among other
aspects, on the training method chosen, and the skill or
task characteristics trained [55]. Despite being highly
structured, training interventions should consider
individual learner differences, e.g., personality,
motivation, and self-efficacy [56].
Informal Learning. According to Decius (2020)
[50], work-related informal learning is a conscious
learning that takes place independently of external
structural constraints and directly at the workplace
usually as a spontaneous reaction to a problem or
challenge at work. Accordingly, the learner's intention
is directed towards action or problem solving. Even if
learning process responsibility and control lie with the
learner, an external stimulus determines the goal of
action (e.g., an error in the work process). Informal
learning occurs outside of formally defined learning
contexts or curricula and is characterized by a low
degree of planning and organization with respect to
learning context, learning support, learning time, and
learning objectives [46, 57]. The behavioral facets of
informal learning include trying and applying problem-
solving strategies, exchange with other people (e.g.,
obtaining feedback on one's own work performance),
and reflection on one's own work performance [12, 58].
Self-regulated Learning. Self-regulated learning is
"an active, constructive process whereby learners set
goals for their learning and then attempt to monitor,
regulate, and control their cognition, motivation, and
behavior, guided and constrained by their goals and the
contextual features in the environment" (p. 453 [54]).
Self-regulated learning thus refers to the "modulation of
affective, cognitive, and behavioral processes
throughout a learning experience to reach a desired level
of achievement” (p. 421 [13]). In contrast to informal
learning, the learner pursues a self-imposed learning
goal that does not have to be triggered by a problem
arising in the work process. Accordingly, there is no
action intention but an explicit learning intention [50].
In everyday work, often combinations of the above
learning forms (i.e., formal, informal, self-regulated)
occur. A problem or challenge in the work task, for
instance, may lead not only to informal learning but also
to the employee requesting and participating in training.
However, we consider the presented mapping of
learning forms to learning paths (i.e., on the job, near the
job, off the job) to be typical. New Learning combines
the three learning forms and harnesses their benefits
Proposition 9. Learning behavior leads to various
valued outcomes. Learning outcomes refer to the
relative permanent change in knowledge, skills, affect
and ability as well as other characteristics (KSAO; [9,
59, 60]). Formal as well as informal and self-regulated
learning have been shown to lead to positive outcomes
on the individual and organizational level [46, 55, 59,
61, 62]. Learning has been shown to be associated with
positive work attitudes, knowledge and skill acquisition,
and improvements in performance criteria (e.g., job
performance, team performance, problem solving,
effectiveness, and promotions) [46, 55, 56, 62].
Learning helps employees adapt to their work
environment and provides them with resources to cope
with work demands (e.g., through job crafting, when
employees adapt or “craft” the task, relational, or
cognitive boundaries of their work; cf. [63]). When
workers adapt their work according to their preferences,
their learning in turn may improve [64]. We ssume that
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learning is thus also associated with less stress and better
health. However, learning opportunities could increase
demands in the long-term and therefore result in more
strain (e.g., delegated tasks and responsibilities, cf.
Proposition 10. According to Higgins' [19]
Regulatory Focus Theory, a promotion focus is
characterized by the individual's striving for positive
outcomes. In the New Learning framework, the effect of
learning behavior on learning outcomes is reinforced by
the promotion focus of the learner as a moderator. If the
learner pursues positive outcomes rather than just
learning something to avoid negative outcomes
(prevention focus), we expect more positive
consequences [66, 67]. Aiming for positive outcomes
should be more likely if the learner feels enthusiasm
about the learning content. Qualitative research has
shown that stress and errors enhance learning within the
prevention-focus system, whereas positive affect is a
typical motivator for the promotion-focus system [68].
4. Future Research Agenda
Introducing the conceptual framework of New
Learning we have built on psychological theories leads
to further questions that future research could address
(see Table 1). These questions can be divided into five
areas. The first area encompasses the learning process
as an entire chain of effectshere the focus is
particularly on triggers and learning behavior (mainly
related to proposition 8). The moderators of the
relationships can be divided into organizational and
personal moderators The former deal with the socio-
technical system (mainly related to proposition 3), the
latter with the individual characteristics of the learner
(mainly related to propositions 5, 6, 7, 10). Research
should address how the learning process can be best
designed and supported by the organizations and the
learners themselves. The fourth area addresses the
support provided by (digital) learning methods and tools
(mainly related to proposition 7). Finally, the fifth area
focuses on learning outcomes, taking into account both
the learner's and the organization's perspective (mainly
related to proposition 9).
Table 1. A New Learning Research Agenda
Research Questions
In which situations or through which triggers does the learner choose which learning
path to follow (i.e., the formal, informal, and self-regulated learning path)?
How are the different learning forms interrelated?
Is the learning process linear (as presented in the model) or are there feedback loops
(e.g., “learn crafting” behavior)?
Which role does social support play in New Learning compared to traditional learning
What are the roles of Human Resources (HR) and line management in supporting New
Are there work changes in a socio-technical environment that foster the perception of
learning opportunities in the short-term, but hamper it in the long-term (e.g., does change
lead to less autonomy)?
● Can social support be replaced by technical (robotic) support?
Which kind of technical or social support (e. g., organizational support, supervisor
support, peer support, feedback and guidance by technical systems) is most important for
the LOPP learning opportunities relationship?
How do social and technical support interact?
● How does the quality or quantity of learning opportunities affect their perception?
● How does New Learning enable the alignment of individual and organizational goals?
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characteristics /
Are there additional factors that moderate the relationship between learning intention
and learning behavior (e.g., digital competency)?
Does the prevention focus have a negative effect, no effect at all, or only a less positive
effectcompared to the promotion focuson the relationship between learning
behavior and outcomes?
How does employee tenure affect the relationship between perceived learning
opportunities and learning intention?
● Which subjective norms and values, in the sense of the Theory of Planned Behavior, act
as most conducive to learning in the context of New Learning?
● How can enthusiasm for learning be awakened?
Learning tools
● Are analog or digital tools better suited to promote New Learning, or is there no
● How do analog and digital tools interact to promote New Learning?
● Which affordances of digital tools foster New Learning?
● How effective are learning tools (e.g., learning experience platform) and work tools
(e.g., collaboration software) in promoting New Learning? How do they interact?
Is there a "Dark Side of Technology" in digital-driven learning that could threaten
learner autonomy?
● Which outcomes are the most important in New Learning (rather knowledge acquisition,
performance, or health)?
● Is there an adverse impact of New Learning?
● Which outcomes are most important to the learner?
● Which outcomes are most important for the organization?
5. Practical Implications, Limitations, and
Our conceptual framework of New Learning has
various practical implications at the levels of
organizations, teams (with the leaders as particularly
relevant team members), and individuals.
At the organizational level, the role of HR
departments needs to be further developed. In the spirit
of the New Learning model, which considers the
learner as the active designer of all learning, the HR
department must create its services in a learner-centric
way. The HR strategy therefore needs to consider the
individual goals of the employees or at least allow a
corridor for individual development. Here, the
reflection of the current learning culture can delineate
this corridor (cf. [14, 36]). The learning culture and the
associated basic assumptions (e.g., "learning moves
the company forward"), values ("making mistakes is
valuable"), and artifacts (e.g., allowing time for
learning, providing easily accessible digital and non-
digital learning resources, cf. [35]) serve as a guide
that makes it clear to employees what learning is
desired and what fits the company's strategy.
Moreover, a positive learning culture leads to the
perception and creation of additional learning
opportunities. This can also be a response to the
problem that changes resulting from digitization might
lead to working conditions that offer fewer
opportunities for learning (e.g., high degree of
automation, less autonomy).
The team is an important context for New
Learning, since a large part of New Learning takes
place in the direct social work environment.
Colleagues are often sparring partners or sources of
learning, and they can also play a role in the
application of methods. It might also be helpful to
bring people with similar enthusiasm for learning
together in a team so that they can infect each other
with their enthusiasm.
From the team in general, leaders stand out as
particularly relevant for New Learning. Because
leaders act as role models and set the conditions under
which learning may occur (cf. [69]) it is important to
sensitize managers so that they shape the learning
environment of their employees. In addition, leaders
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can empower their employees and thus facilitate New
Learning by giving them meaningful tasks that enable
them to experience competence and allow them to
make choices [5, 6].
At the individual level, the framework suggests
that employees have a great deal of control over
whether they become New Learners. Here, we can
imagine many levers. Learners have the best
prerequisites for New Learning if they see their own
further development as meaningful and useful for their
own goals, can gain meaning from their learning
activity, strive for positive results, experience
competence, and have autonomy over what they do.
Even if this is only fulfilled to some extent, learners
could engage in the things they really, really want to
do to facilitate learning. The New Learning process
can also be strengthened by choosing tools and
methods that the learner feels are individually
In this paper, we have attempted to define the term
New Learning, link it to existing concepts, and
conceptualize it within a psychological framework.
However, a systematic literature review was not
possible due to the ambiguity of the term. Moreover,
due to space constraints, we had to limit the present
paper to a brief presentation of the relevant theories
and mechanismswe refer interested readers to the
cited sources instead. In this sense, we would like this
contribution to be understood as a starting point for
further research.
Concluding, the presented conceptual framework
of New Learning offers a human-centered approach to
learning in the digital work environmenta work
environment that challenges employees to learn
continuously (cf. [21]). A perspective focusing on
learner autonomy and enthusiasm is specifically
important in digital work contexts where rapid
advancements in technology, automation and analytics
pose the risk of decreased employee autonomy and
control. Our framework provides a building block for
creating a more human-centered work design, opening
an avenue for digital work contexts to turn into an
opportunity for augmenting learning instead of
reducing learner autonomy.
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... Self-actualization is promoted through the scope for action and the use of one's own skills and potential [11]. The factor of self-actualization also moves further into focus in the context of New Work [9] and New Learning [46] in the sense of doing "what you really really want". Freedom of action concerning work location and working hours supports self-actualization in the context of work. ...
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1) Background: In view of the advancing digitalization of the German banking sector, offering remote work can be an opportunity for banks to meet changing customer and employee needs at the same time. It allows flexible consultations at changing locations and, due to the high degree of autonomy, it also increases motivation, meaningfulness, happiness at work, and commitment. (2) Methods: This study used a quasi-experimental design to investigate how remote work affects happiness at work and affective commitment among employees in a German public bank. Therefore, two groups of customer advisors were examined, who work either remotely (N = 32) or stationary (N = 110) at similar tasks. (3) Results: The group comparisons show significantly higher values overall on three of the investigated four happiness dimensions ("meaningfulness", "self-ac-tualization", and "community professional") for employees in the remote group. Commitment also differs, as employees in the remote group show significantly stronger commitment. The quantitative results were confirmed by qualitative interviews. (4) Conclusions: By investigating the positive effects of remote working, this study shows new findings on what is likely to be a growing design form of New Work in the future. The study provides evidence that self-selected work environments and working hours offer an opportunity to make work more conducive to happiness-even in a sector that still undergoes significant shifts.
... As a result, this reduces the problem of the leader as the 'information bottleneck' of learning culture because then leaders can concentrate more on strategic decisions rather than being fully occupied by decisions about business operations (Mayson and Barrett 2006). As a side effect, leaders thereby also facilitate 'new learning' of their employees (Decius et al. 2022). ...
In times of globalization of work and learning, the impact of national culture on learning becomes more important for human resource development. Therefore, this cross-cultural study had two objectives: first, to examine how power distance influences learning culture; and second, to investigate leadership as a missing link between the national culture in terms of power distance and organizational learning culture. Participants from Germany (N = 310) and Russia (N = 348) were surveyed via an online questionnaire. A structural equation model indicates a negative, mostly indirect effect of power distance on all seven DLOQ dimensions, mediated by participative leadership. Therefore, according to the results, leadership is of significant importance for learning culture, at least in global acting companies, and should be in the focus of international human resource development. Theoretical and practical implications of the study are discussed. ARTICLE HISTORY
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Purpose The purpose of this study is to develop the self-initiated work adjustment for learning (SIWAL) scale that measures the adjustments that employees make in their work to enhance learning, based on theories and research on workplace learning, work adjustment and work design. Design/methodology/approach The SIWAL scale was validated in two independent studies. Study 1 ( n = 208) focused on the internal consistency and factor structure of the SIWAL scale. Study 2 ( n = 178) re-examined the factorial structure using confirmatory factor analysis and investigated scale validity. Findings In both studies, the SIWAL scale showed good psychometric characteristics, i.e. a clear two-factorial structure and internal reliable sub-scales. The findings also indicated convergent, divergent and concurrent validity. Research limitations/implications Using the SIWAL scale, future research could focus on the individual, social and organizational predictors and outcomes of SIWAL, collect supervisor and peer ratings to further validate this self-report scale and investigate lower-educated workers. Practical implications Organizations might try to enhance their employees' SIWAL through organizational policies, such as supportive leadership, and a learning climate. Originality/value This study provides a first step toward a better understanding of what workers do to enhance their workplace learning. The study findings indicate that employees address two adaptive behaviors: adjusting job responsibilities and adjusting social interactions.
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The rapid advancement of new digital technologies, such as smart technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, robotics, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT), is fundamentally changing the nature of work and increasing concerns about the future of jobs and organizations. To keep pace with rapid disruption, companies need to update and transform business models to remain competitive. Meanwhile, the growth of advanced technologies is changing the types of skills and competencies needed in the workplace and demanded a shift in mindset among individuals, teams and organizations. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digitalization trends, while heightening the importance of employee resilience and well-being in adapting to widespread job and technological disruption. Although digital transformation is a new and urgent imperative, there is a long trajectory of rigorous research that can readily be applied to grasp these emerging trends. Recent studies and reviews of digital transformation have primarily focused on the business and strategic levels, with only modest integration of employee-related factors. Our review article seeks to fill these critical gaps by identifying and consolidating key factors important for an organization’s overarching digital transformation. We reviewed studies across multiple disciplines and integrated the findings into a multi-level framework. At the individual level, we propose five overarching factors related to effective digital transformation among employees: technology adoption; perceptions and attitudes toward technological change; skills and training; workplace resilience and adaptability, and work-related wellbeing. At the group-level, we identified three factors necessary for digital transformation: team communication and collaboration; workplace relationships and team identification, and team adaptability and resilience. Finally, at the organizational-level, we proposed three factors for digital transformation: leadership; human resources, and organizational culture/climate. Our review of the literature confirms that multi-level factors are important when planning for and embarking on digital transformation, thereby providing a framework for future research and practice.
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We investigated informal workplace learning (IWL) within an under-researched target group: blue-collar workers. IWL is particularly important for these workers because of learning barriers to participation in formal training. Based on meta-analytical conceptualizations and findings, we developed a conceptual framework of a ntecedents, p rocesses, and learning o utcomes of IWL among blue-collar workers (APO framework), following an input-process-output perspective. The results of our structural equation model analysis with N = 702 blue-collar workers from small and medium-sized businesses provided support for seven of eight hypotheses: Personal antecedents, namely curiosity , learning goal orientation , and self-directed learning orientation were positively related to IWL; organizational antecedents, namely social support —containing supervisor support , coworker support , and error-related learning climate —and, surprisingly, time pressure were positively related to IWL; IWL was positively related to three learning outcomes, namely job involvement , newly acquired competency , and organizational citizenship behavior . The findings establish a basis for future longitudinal studies and theory building in workplace learning research, and they provide managers in organizations with guidance to promote IWL.
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See below for an Englisch version of the abstract ############################################################### Informelles Lernen am Arbeitsplatz ist die vorherrschende Form des arbeitsbezogenen Lernens. Insbesondere im Hinblick auf Lernbarrieren der formalen Weiterbildung bei an- und ungelernten Industriebeschäftigten in kleinen und mittleren Unternehmen (KMU) stellt informelles Lernen eine Antwort auf die Herausforderungen der Qualifizierung dar. Daher widmet sich die kumulative Dissertation in Bezug auf die genannte Zielgruppe der Beantwortung folgender Fragen: 1. Wie lässt sich informelles Lernen am Arbeitsplatz konzeptualisieren und operationalisieren? (Teilstudie 1 zur Entwicklung des Oktagon-Modells des informellen Lernens sowie zur Validierung eines 24 Items umfassenden Messinstruments); 2. Welche Konstrukte gehen als Antezedenzien dem informellen Lernen voraus und welche sind Ergebnisse des informellen Lernens? (Teilstudie 2 zur Entwicklung sowie empirischen Überprüfung des APO-Rahmenmodells der Antezedenzien, Prozesse und Lernergebnisse des informellen Lernens); 3. Welche Wechselwirkungen bestehen zwischen den Arbeitsbedingungen und dem informellen Lernen über die Zeit? (Teilstudie 3 mit empirischer Evidenz für die in der Forschung bislang wenig beachtete „Aktives-Anpassen-Hypothese“, die einen Einfluss des Lernens auf die Arbeitsbedingungen annimmt). Dabei werden qualitative Methoden und die Analyse quantitativer Forschungsdaten von insgesamt 1726 Industriebeschäftigten kombiniert. Im Rahmen der Dissertation werden zudem anhand von sieben deduktiv entwickelten Dimensionen folgende neun Lernformen vom informellen Lernen konzeptionell abgegrenzt: formales Lernen, inzidentelles Lernen, selbstreguliertes Lernen, Deliberate Practice, erfahrungsorientiertes Lernen, transformationales Lernen, situiertes Lernen, arbeitsbasiertes Lernen. Abschließend werden Implikationen der Studienergebnisse für die angewandte Lernforschung und Praxis abgeleitet und diskutiert. ############################################################### Informal workplace learning is the predominant form of work-related learning. Considering learning barriers of formal training among semi-skilled and unskilled blue-collar workers in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), informal workplace learning provides a response to qualification challenges. Regarding this vocational group, the cumulative dissertation therefore addresses the following questions: 1. How can informal workplace learning be conceptualized and operationalized? (Study 1 on the development of the Octagon Model of Informal Workplace Learning as well as the development and validation of a 24-item measure); 2. Which constructs precede informal workplace learning as antecedents and which are outcomes of informal workplace learning? (Study 2 on the development and empirical evaluation of the APO framework model of antecedents, processes, and learning outcomes); 3. Which interactions exist between working conditions and informal workplace learning over time? (Study 3, providing empirical evidence for the "active-shaper hypothesis" which assumes an influence of learning on working conditions, not vice versa—a hypothesis that has received little attention in research to date). Qualitative methods and the analysis of quantitative data of 1726 blue-collar workers are combined. The dissertation also conceptually distinguishes the following nine learning forms from informal workplace learning using seven deductively developed dimensions to characterize learning forms: formal learning, incidental learning, self-regulated learning, deliberate practice, experiential learning, transformative learning, situated learning, work-based learning. Finally, implications of the study results for applied learning research and practice are derived and discussed.
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Learning is the engagement in mental processes resulting in the acquisition and retention of knowledge, skills, and/or affect over time and applied when needed. Building on this definition, we integrate the science of training and the science of learning to propose a new science of workplace instruction, linking the design of instructional events to instructional outcomes such as transfer and job performance through the mediating effects of learner events and learning outcomes. We propose three foundational elements: the learner, instructional principles, and training delivery (methods and media). Understanding and applying instructional principles are the primary methods for enhancing training effectiveness; thus, we detail 15 empirically supported principles. We then discuss the erroneous pursuit of aptitude-by-treatment interactions under the guise of learner styles and age-specific instruction. Finally, we offer suggestions for future research that draw on the foundation of instructional principles to optimize self-directed learning and learning in synthetic learning environments. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Organizational Pscyhology and Organizational Behavior, Volume 8 is January 21, 2021. Please see for revised estimates.
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The Problem Whereas critical reflection has been the hallmark of learning from experience in the workplace, performance has been the hallmark for productivity. In the face of complex, ongoing, disruptive change, failing safe is a necessary condition for learning from experience, and critical reflection the method of learning from safe to fail experiments. How can workplaces be safe to fail spaces where critical reflection is embraced, encouraged, and rewarded? The Solution We focus especially on the role of the leader to create a climate of psychological safety where it is safe to practice critical reflection. The workplace needs to become a safe place to fail to facilitate productivity, innovation, and creative responses to the demands that ensue from disruption at work. The Stakeholders This article is relevant to human resource development (HRD) scholars and practitioners who are interested in developing the workplace in times of uncertainly and constant disruption.
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The concept of digital human resource management and related concepts such as the digitization of human resource management, the digitalization of human resource management, the digital transformation of human resource management, and the digital disruption of human resource management are gaining prominence in scholarly discussion. Frequently, however, the use of these concepts is implicit, heterogeneous, and proliferating. These concepts, thus, lack the “conceptual clarity” necessary in research. Therefore, this article aims at a conceptual clarification of digital human resource management and of related concepts of the digitization of human resource management, the digitalization of human resource management, the digital transformation of human resource management, and the digital disruption of human resource management. To do so, the article references general literature on digital organizations to develop a terminology and typology of digital human resource management. The terminology offers precise and parsimonious definitions of the concepts and relationships between them, offering a basic understanding. The typology offers precise and parsimonious ideal-types, which order and classify phenomena related to digital human resource management, in turn expanding knowledge about these phenomena. Together, the terminology and typology clarify the concept of digital human resource management and related concepts, uncover digital human resource management as an evolutionary advancement of previous conceptualizations of technology-based human resource management, and provide a conceptual basis for future work on digital human resource management.
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This study brings attention to the determinants of 21st-century skills and 21st-century digital skills. The following skills are investigated: technical, information, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills. To understand differences in the level of these skills among workers, we need to know the factors that determine an individual’s skill level. A systematic literature review was conducted to provide a comprehensive overview of empirical studies measuring skill determinants. The results show that there is strong need for research on determinants of communication and collaboration skills. In a digital context, determinants for creativity and critical thinking are hardly studied. Furthermore, the identified determinants of 21st-century skills studies are limited to personality and psychological determinants, neglecting, for example, social determinants such as social support. Although digital skills studies show more variety, they mostly cover demographic and socioeconomic determinants.
Purpose The purpose of this study is to understand how regulatory focus influences informal learning behaviors. A growing body of research indicates that regulatory focus has significant consequences for goal pursuit in the workplace, yet it has not been readily studied or applied to the field of human resource management (Johnson et al. , 2015). This is one of the few studies to examine the relationship between informal learning and regulatory focus theory that can be applied to the training and development field. Design/methodology/approach Using a qualitative research design, a semi-structured interview was used to increase the comparability of participant responses. Questions were asked in an open-ended manner, allowing for a structured approach for collecting information yet providing flexibility for the sake of gaining more in-depth responses. An interview guideline was used to standardize the questions and ensure similar kinds of information were obtained across participants. A typological analytic approach (Lincoln and Guba, 1985) was used to analyze the data. Findings In a sample of 16 working adults, (44% female and 56% male), participants who were identified as having either a promotion- or prevention-focus orientation were interviewed about types of informal learning strategies they used. The results revealed that performance success and failure have differential effects on learning behaviors for prevention and promotion-focus systems. Stress and errors motivate informal learning for the prevention-focus system, whereas positive affect motivates informal learning for the promotion-focus system. Prevention-focus participants articulated greater use of vicarious learning, reflective thinking and feedback-seeking as methods of informal learning. Promotion-focus participants articulated greater use of experimentation methods of informal learning. Originality/value This study provides an in-depth understanding of how regulatory focus influences informal learning. Few studies have considered how regulatory focus promotes distinct strategies and inclinations toward using informal learning. Performance success and failure have differential effects on informal learning behaviors for regulatory promotion and prevention systems. This has theoretical and practical implications in consideration of why employees engage in informal learning, and the tactics and strategies they use for learning.