Workplace learning involves a mix of formal, informal and non-formal forms of learning (Eraut, 2004). Consequently, examining how people learn in complex workplace settings, in which controlled experiments cannot be conducted, is challenging. We aim to use a triangulation of methods, complementing quantitative measures with qualitative research (Denzin, 1978; Jick, 1979).
The project uses a mixed method approach to collect data from target groups of knowledge workers as they learn in the workplace.
The study comprises two phases:
Each volunteer is invited to complete a short profiling tool. Volunteers will then be invited to take part in a telephone interview exploring the way they address their learning needs at work (our interest is in short-term/just in time/ informal learning rather than formal training). The interview will last around an hour. In addition to the interview, we will communicate with participants by email before and after the interview to (a) focus the interview topic and (b) collect a short reflection on a specific learning event. These short pre- and post-interview exchanges will help us increase the quality of information we can collect.
The research is being led by a team at Glasgow Caledonian University, in the United Kingdom. The research has been vetted by our local Research Ethics Committee. Participation in the study will be voluntary. We will ensure that any personal information is kept private and secure, that participants are guaranteed anonymity in any publications/project outputs, and that the identity of employers is also protected where requested. As our focus is on learning, we don’t anticipate collecting any commercially sensitive information. All project outputs and reports will be made available to all participants on request. We can provide individual participants with feedback based on the SRL Profiling tool they complete, which may be helpful for their own professional development.
The data collection will use two main instruments:
Questionnaire data will be used to construct an SRL profile for each participant. Interviews will be recorded, transcribed and coded in accordance with the three SRL phases (planning, implementation and reflection) and relevant sub-processes. Interviews will also be coded on the basis of other key areas of interest reflected in the research questions (use of collective knowledge, use of tools).