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Workplace Learning Lecture Notes Essay

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Workplace Learning: Introduction to Workplace Learning: * Learning is the most significant factor contributing to organizational success, especially in the light that knowledge will rapidly supercede capital, labor and raw materials. * Concepts of learning can be either formal learning or informal learning. * Traditionally learning was more relied on off the job learning methods such as training courses, seminars and educational programs. * Focused developmental programs * Usually a management initiative * Practical; helps people acquire job related knowledge and skills * Has specific and measurable outcome Task centered, rather than a learner centered * Achieved in a fixed time period * One of the most significant developments of HRD is its focus on workplace learning or informal learning, which emerged from the limitations of formal learning (suffer in terms of transfer to job or lacking relevance to learners needs). * There is lack of clear definition on workplace learning, but it still appears to be centered around a number of key concepts (Eraut, 2000) 1) Concerns on the reflection on and learning from experience; 2) Significant based on the real life problem solving; ) Acknowledges that much learning is also a function of a collective activity situated within a specific social context as much as it’s individual. Experiential Learning: Most of our learning comes from what we are doing, and throughout our lives we learn from our experiences (Dennison and Krik 1990). * Learning takes places as a result of experience. * And that experience is processed by conscious thought and by doing something new. * The learner must actively take responsibility of the learning. * But it can be facilitated and made more efficient by skillful management.

Experiential learning cycle by Kolb D ‘74 Concrete experience Testing implications of Concept in a new situations Observation and Reflection Formation of abstract concepts and generalization Some implications of experiential Learning Theory – Knowles et all 1984 * Learners should be motivated to learn * Learning should be enjoyable and satisfying * Learners must take responsibility of their own learning. * New learning must relate to what has been learned before. * Leaner must be allowed time for reflection. The Socio-Cultural perceptive of learning: This perceptive of learning is seen as arising from a complex interaction between knowledge acquisition, identity and practice based within the work or social activity group (Lave and Wenger, 1991). This is a community that learns not the individual. Learning therefore arises as a result of participation within social communities and is inextricably linked to practice and action. Learning increases as participants within social communities attain participation in the socio-cultural practices associated with each community.

Two Components of developmental space –Van der Zwet et al. Students need developmental space in order to truly “Learn from doing”. 1) Contextual space: * The possibility for students to mind their learning was influenced by the attributes of the working environment, such as material, organizational and educational elements. Contextual space, for example, was strongly determined by the presence or absence of a special room for students with a computer and access to patient records and by the scheduling of patient consultations for students. ) Socio-emotional space: * Socio-emotional space embodies how students’ state of mind, often originating from interactions with the social environment, influences possibilities for learning. Students’ relationships with their supervisor, other team members and patients influenced their social and professional position within the practice. The nature of these relationships was partly influenced by the local working climate and habits, partly by a personal ‘click’ with the supervisor and other personnel, and was further developed by participation in patient care.

The strong impact of the student’s position was manifest in its effect on emotional outcomes such as enjoyment and feeling respected and confident. These positive emotions enabled learning by providing space for students to build their skills and experiences, to accept weaknesses and to feel free to ask questions. If these elements were unclear or disturbing, students were compelled to attend to these negative aspects and as a result effective use of the socio-emotional space would be impaired. Communities of practice: An activity system about which participants share understandings concerning what they are doing and what that means in their lives and for their community. Thus, they are united in both action and in the meaning that action has, both for himself or herself, and for the larger collective (Lave & Wenger 1991:98). Supporting Communities of Practice through (1) Increasing identification with the community (2) Providing opportunity for participation (3) Building trust and relational aspects Complexities of assessing learning within HRD: * There are two contrasting tool of thought – Learning perspective and performance perspective. Learning perspective – Focus of HRD should be to enhance both the organization and individual within it and its capacity to learn. * Performance perspective – Focus f HRD should not just be learning, but to transfer the learning on to the job and perform to meet organizational goals. Assessing workplace Learning: * Traditional Formal learning has multitude of methods of assessing known to practitioners Like Kirkpatrick’s Model (1959). * Workplace or informal learning, due to its ad hoc and unplanned nature is not amenable to those traditional methods of assessing. Hence the focus shifts from assessing the outcome of informal learning to assessing learning conditions or opportunities or informal learning to take place. 1) Individuals need support in maintaining openness towards new experiences. 2) Support in reflection 3) Support in transferring the learning into practice. * McCauley et al. (1994) have developed a 15-item developmental challenge profile questionnaire based on research that found that four key character associated with managers’ job tasks were associated with opportunities for on-the-job learning. 1) Transitions (e. g. ew function, unusual responsibilities or proving yourself). 2) Task related characteristics (e. g. creating change, high level responsibility etc. ). 3) Obstacles (e. g. difficult organizational environment, Lack of management support, difficult boss, lack of personal support) 4) Support (e. g. a supportive boss) * Recently, Van der Sluiss et al. (2002) has further categorized learning behavior of individual as either Instruction oriented or meaning oriented. * This research suggests that stronger the meaning oriented learning preference, than more is the emergent learning is likely to take place. But assessing the learning capacity for workplace learning itself is not sufficient for performance advocates, but to learn and perform. * Further, different sources of workplace learning require a flexible and variegated approach to assessment, and though there are some tools and approaches outlined as above, assessment of learning is far more difficult to achieve in practical. Budget for learning systems: Formal Learning– Organizations will need to both plan and budget for staff cover as well as allocate financial resources in order for training to take place, training strategy is therefore an important tool for budgeting. This suggests training has more transparent costs and greater clarity of expected outcomes and hence potentially influences the assessment of formal learning. – Drawback – It can be expensive and hence during recession training is the most unsuitable method for learning (Pedler et all, 2007). Informal Learning – Training strategy cannot be used as it is undertaken more on an ad hoc basis responding to every individual learning needs. * Fact that occurs unplanned and on the job, its makes it difficult to quantify the cost.

Senior Management on workplace learning: * Where senior management has responsibility for training and development decisions, assessment of informal learning is afforded higher priority, as they believe it is associated with organizational goals. * The benefits of on-the –job learning is far more recognizable by senior managers as its got greater relevance to job than training, Conditions promoting self directed learning at workplace: Survey based on “Two –Shell Model of Motivated Self-directed Learning” by Straka, 1996. Self-directed learning’ describes a process in which individuals take the initiative, with or without the help of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identifying human and material resources for learning, choosing and implementing appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating learning outcomes. * It differentiates socio –historical environmental conditions, internal conditions (developed declarative knowledge and values already present at the time of learning), and activities that belong with the concept interest, learning strategies, control and evaluations. Figure 2 – as in the paper.

The correlation between experienced workplace conditions, interest, emotion, learning and control strategies was examined using a sample of 295 employees from a sales-administrative field, of whom 20 per cent had a lower and 34 per cent an average secondary school education and 46 per cent a grammar-school education and above. Twenty-six per cent were female and 41 per cent under 40 years of age. Perspectives on Research: 1) Experiencing autonomy: at the place of work is when a person has the impression s/he has scope, that is to say that s/he is able to carry out his/her work tasks according to his/her own schedules. ) Experiencing competence: at the place of work is when a person has the impression s/he carries out his/her work tasks competently as well as successfully and when s/he feels her/himself to be effective. 3) Experienced social relatedness: at the place of work is felt by a person when superiors and colleagues acknowledge his tasks and s/he feels integrated in the works community. The experiencing of autonomy, competence and social relatedness, summarized as ‘experienced work conditions’, has an influence on interests. Interests have an effect on the strategies and control of learning. Why HR Policies fail to support workplace learning: