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Journal cover: Journal of Workplace Learning

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626
Previously published as: Employee Counselling Today

Online from: 1997

Subject Area: Learning and Development

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Factors that influence informal learning in the workplace


Document Information:
Title:Factors that influence informal learning in the workplace
Author(s):Shelley A. Berg, (Department of Instructional and Performance Technology, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, USA), Seung Youn (Yonnie) Chyung, (Department of Instructional and Performance Technology, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, USA)
Citation:Shelley A. Berg, Seung Youn (Yonnie) Chyung, (2008) "Factors that influence informal learning in the workplace", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 20 Iss: 4, pp.229 - 244
Keywords:Learning, Learning organizations, Workplace learning
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/13665620810871097 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract:

Purpose – The purpose of this research is to investigate factors that influence informal learning in the workplace and the types of informal learning activities people engage in at work. More specifically, the research examined: the relationship between informal learning engagement and the presence of learning organization characteristics; and perceived factors that affect informal learning engagement.

Design/methodology/approach – Workplace learning and performance improvement professionals were invited to respond to an anonymous online survey, and 125 professionals volunteered to participate in the study.

Findings – This study did not find a significant correlation between informal learning engagement and the presence of learning organization characteristics. While age and education level did not impact informal learning engagement, it was found that older workers tended to engage in more informal learning. There were also certain types of informal learning activities in which they were most likely to engage. The findings also include rank-ordered lists of personal and environmental factors that workers perceived to influence their engagement in informal learning.

Practical implications – The rank-ordered lists of factors that influence informal learning engagement are likely to be useful to practitioners for prioritizing informal learning interventions. The results of this study suggest that the degree of engagement in informal learning alone would not be a sufficient construct for predicting the presence of learning organization characteristics.

Originality/value – Very little empirical research has attempted to connect individual learning to the learning organization concept. This research addresses that gap by examining the relationship between individual informal learning engagement and the presence of learning organization characteristics.



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