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Getting the Measure of Workplace Learning: The Conceptual and Methodological Challenges Faced by Survey Researchers Alan Felstead.

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Presentation on theme: "Getting the Measure of Workplace Learning: The Conceptual and Methodological Challenges Faced by Survey Researchers Alan Felstead."— Presentation transcript:

1 Getting the Measure of Workplace Learning: The Conceptual and Methodological Challenges Faced by Survey Researchers Alan Felstead

2 Outline of Talk 1.Importance & Topicality of Learning 2.Two Competing Conceptualisations of Learning 3.Using Concepts to Inform Survey Design 4.Some Survey Results

3 Topicality of Learning European level: 1996 European Year of Lifelong Learning; 2000 Lisbon goals for employment; subsequent reports & resolutions National level: 1998 Learning Age; National Skills Task Force; Cabinet Office on learning; Skills Strategy in 2003; Leitch in

4 Conceptualisations of Learning 1.Acquisition Metaphor 2. Participation Metaphor human mind stocked with ideas individual stockroom management individual possession/endowments without action there can be no learning embodied action is embedded in context learning is borne out of social interaction

5 Empirical Face of Concepts 1.Acquisition Metaphor 2. Participation Metaphor surveys of: qualifications held; years in education;attendance on training courses/events recognition of other ways of learning BUT captured by frequency/exposure times case studies of how work is done & what is most effective at enhancing performance BUT recognition that measurement may be possible

6 Nature of Learning at Work Survey Collaborative venture with NIACE Additional module added to Adult Participation in Learning Survey Module aimed to use participation metaphor to: reveal sources of learning associated with everyday work experience identify their relative importance map their distribution & relationship to the organisational environment

7 Nature of LAWS (cont.) Part of Omnibus Survey carried out every week by RSGB Face-to-face interviews with adults >16 in their homes during February 2004 Sample comprises 1,943 employees, selected randomly by address All results weighted to reflect adult population

8 Key Question on Learning To what extent have the following activities helped you to learn to do your job better? 10 activities listed (5-point scale: a great deal of help; quite a lot of help; of some help; a little help; of no help at all all)

9 Participation Better at Raising Performance - 1

10 Participation Better at Raising Performance - 2

11 Participation More Important in Lower Ranks

12 Workplace as a Learning Environment

13 Workplace Context: Line Management

14 Workplace Context: Influence at Work

15 Workplace Context: Involvement Practices

16 Putting Learning in Context Previous studies have traced links between workplace context and training/skills But few have examined the links between learning and the context of work Data on both within the same survey has been wanting … until the Learning at Work Survey!

17 Putting Learning in Context (cont.) Technical = multiple regression Dependent variable = learning scores (ACQ) & (PART) Independent variables = IND_INF, GRP_INF, INVOLVE & LINE_MAN Control variables = age, sex, occupation, country, marital status

18 Statistical Connections

19 Conclusion Rhetorical shift with discussions centring on learning not training Existing measures rooted in learning as acquisition tradition (qualifications, years in education, training events) LAWS gives greater weight to learning as participation metaphor; & focuses on relative impact that activities have on employee performance

20 Contact:


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