What the resource is:
This is a research briefing (March 2004) issued by the Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP). The research explored the contemporary workplace, looking for ways in which learning and incentives for learning could be improved. Five interdisciplinary projects were included which identified issues linked to:
- Access to learning where regulatory structures apply
- Recognition of skills and knowledge in work re-entry
- The workplace as a site for learning
- The nature of apprenticeship
- The school as a site for work-based learning
The aims of the resource:
These are to present the findings from research investigating the interactions between government policy, workplace regulation and individual worker dispositions as they affect the learning environments and learning opportunities.
Key findings or focus:
The outcomes identify three major themes:
- A workplace with an expansive environment offers more opportunities to learn than a restrictive one, and makes it more likely that those opportunities would be utilised. A framework, identifying 14 expansive and 14 restrictive approaches, is included. In the expansive environment, learning was taken seriously by both managers and employees.
- Regulation and state intervention can affect the expansiveness of the learning environment. For example, teachers are strongly influenced by national policy which can affect their learning.
- Individual workers have different dispositions:
- They bring prior knowledge, understanding and skills which affect their learning
- They have different dispositions towards work and learning
- The disposition of individuals contributes to the working environment of themselves and others
- The dispositions of workers contribute to the extent to which the learning environment is expansive or restrictive
Major implications of the findings are identified in terms of the shortcomings in employers and the government wanting to identify clearly costed direct benefits from an investment in learning. These findings are:
- Employers can gain much by recognising the skills that workers already possess rather than using a deficit model
- Formal training is important but most workplace learning takes place through everyday working practices
- Formalised approaches can only be partial in their positive impact
- Learners bring prior knowledge, understanding and skills with them which can contribute to their learning
- Individuals’ dispositions towards work and learning influence the way in which they understand and take advantage of learning opportunities at work
Overall the research concludes that a top-down approach will have only a partial impact, for any changes introduced will affect different workers in different ways and will result in differing responses from them. The researchers suggest that opportunities to learn in the workplace should be improved, and that working cultures be taken into account, as well as the individual differences of workers. In short, the approach should be to encourage and facilitate learning through work, not directly impose it.
The quality, authority and credibility of the resource:
The resource reports the outcomes of detailed and reliable research. It highlights issues about workplace learning which are applicable to the continuing professional development of teachers. For example, issues related to individuals’ dispositions and taking into account prior knowledge are directly relevant to the provision of good quality training for teachers.
The implications for ITE tutors/mentors:
The resource is helpful to ITE tutors involved in the professional development of teachers. Issues are highlighted, related to differing workplace learning, which are of relevance to the provision of effective training of the workforce.
The relevance to ITE students:
This resource identifies issues linked to workplace learning which have relevance to ITE trainees particularly during school-based training. Issues are raised which are of particular importance to those following employment-based routes.
Workplace learning, CPD, communities of practice, situational learning, workforce development
Other Contributor :
Article Id : 13145
Date Posted: 14/2/2007