Understanding work-related learning : the case of ICT workers
Faculty of Social Sciences. Instructional and Educational Sciences
Journal of workplace learning
, p. 416-429
University of Antwerp
Purpose A central issue in the field of workplace learning is how work-related learning can be stimulated so that a powerful learning work environment is created. This paper seeks to further enlarge understanding on this issue. Based on the demand-control-support the aim is to investigate the influence of job-characteristics on the work-related learning behaviour of the worker such as job demands, job control, social support at work on the one hand and self-directed learning orientation on the other. Design/methodology/approach The study took place in the ICT-department of a large company in Flanders. By means of an online questionnaire, all employees of the ICT-department were asked to complete this questionnaire, which, apart from general information on the participants (age, gender, prior education, etc.), consisted of statements on five scales (job demands, job control, social support, self-directed learning orientation, and work-related learning behaviour) adapted from validated instruments. There was a total of 73 participants (response rate of 52 per cent, 73 per cent men, 27 per cent women, age varying from 20-51 years old). In addition, all scales had Cronbach's alpha values above 0.79. Relations between the variables under study were tested using the Pearson correlation. The predictive value of the variables for the variance in work-related learning was tested using the enter method of a multiple regression analysis. Findings The regression analyses show that job demands and job control were moderately positive and significantly linked with work-related learning behaviour. Social support did not show a significant positive correlation with work-related learning at all. Self-directed learning orientation on the contrary had a strong and positive relation with work-related learning. The results of the linear regression analyses indicated that only the self-directed learning orientation scale significantly predicted the work-related learning behaviour. Originality/value The study is one of the few investigations that takes into account both the role of personal and workplace-related variables in order to better understand work-related learning. The results stress that personal related variables such as self-regulated learning orientation need to be taken into account in further research and in the daily practice of human resources development.