This multi-disciplinary project
aimed to break new theoretical and methodological ground by examining the
interplay of the organisational context with processes of individual/group
teaching and learning at work. It assessed the implications for
workplace learning opportunities for employees at all levels in
both the public and private sectors.
In particular, it investigated the hypothesis that workplaces which
exhibit high involvement characteristics and 'expansive' learning
environments provide employees with greater opportunities to engage
in and attain new skills and knowledge through learning at work
than would be the case for employees in low involvement ('restrictive')
The project combined qualitative and quantitative techniques in
a multi-layered approach to data collection. Crucially, organisational
level data triangulated with the workplace learning experiences
and perceptions of employees.
In keeping with its collaborative and transformative approach, the
project sought to: improve the process of and learning outcomes from
workplace learning in the case study organisations; and influence
and inform the practitioner and policy-making communities in the
field of workforce development.
The project addressed and contributed to the ESRC TLRP Phase
3 core research themes by seeking answers to the following key questions:
- what are the contextual features of the workplace which affect
employees' opportunities to learn and share their skills and knowledge,
and their experience of learning at work?
- what is the relationship between 'formal' and 'informal' teaching
and learning processes?
- what effect do these processes have on learning at work?
- what features distinguish functional and dysfunctional workplace