Societal changes, as well as changes in the nature of knowledge mean that knowledge workers are increasingly asked to operate at the boundary of knowledge, or to source and use knowledge across different domains (Nardi et al, 2000), constantly learning as they perform their work role. Examples include Software Engineering where technology innovation demands constant reconceptualization of knowledge, and Finance, where changing regulations and recent failures require new solutions and process innovation. Knowledge workers in such contexts must learn continually to maintain expertise.
Work and Learning at the Boundaries of Knowledge (WLBK) is a GCU partnership with two leading organisations operating in the aforementioned sectors. The study will examine the learning practices of knowledge workers in these two organisations and will study (for example):
This study aims to surface, describe and systematise the strategies that knowledge workers use to self-regulate the learning they undertake to maintain expertise and support the generation of new knowledge. The term self-regulation here refers to “self-generated thoughts, feelings and actions that are planned and cyclically adapted to the attainment of personal goals” (Zimmermann, 2005, p. 14).
The study will examine how knowledge workers in the two companies plan, implement and reflect upon their learning goals, analysing similarities and differences in the use of SRL strategies between learners who are positioned on different points on the spectrum of SRL skills. In identifying the SRL activities and strategies used by the participants, we are specifically interested in finding out how individuals draw upon available resources, such as other people and resources, to plan and attain their learning goals, and what tools they use to do so.
The study is guided by the following key research questions: