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Research Briefing

Research Summary

Intentions Poster

Outcomes Poster

Full Report


Project Website



Phase III Research Network:


Learning as Work: Teaching and Learning Processes in the Contemporary Work Organisation (2003 - 2008)

This project has now completed. Major outputs include:


Professor Alan Felstead (University of Cardiff)
Professor Lorna Unwin (Institute of Education)
Dr Alison Fuller (University of Southampton)
Dr Dan Bishop (University of Cardiff)
Dr Tracey Lee (University of Cardiff)
Nick Jewson (University of Cardiff)
Dr. Konstantinos Kakavelakis (University of Cardiff)

Project Summary

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') workplaces.

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 learning cultures?

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