Examining the learning intentions of low-qualified employees : a mixed method study
Faculty of Social Sciences. Instructional and Educational Sciences
Journal of workplace learning
, p. 178-197
University of Antwerp
Purpose While the professional learning of high-qualified employees has received a lot of attention, research that focuses on low-qualified employees is limited. The purpose of this study is to investigate the learning intention of low-qualified employees as a proximal determinant of their actual participation in learning activities. Design/methodology/approach This study applied a mixed method approach. The quantitative part of the section applied a cross-sectional survey design. In total 673 low-qualified participants completed the questionnaire. Regression and ANOVA analyses were calculated to answer the research questions. For the qualitative part of this study, 14 low-qualified employees were interviewed. These interviews were transcribed and encoded by means of descriptive coding and open coding, and split up into different categories using NVivo 8 software. Findings The results show that self-directedness in career processes and financial satisfaction are positively related to the learning intentions of low-qualified employees. The qualitative part of the research shows that low-qualified employees primarily relate learning to formal learning activities, and that learning has a negative connotation for them due to prior negative experiences related to school learning. Research limitations/implications The quantitative part of the research only considers formal learning, whereas the qualitative part of the research also allowed a discussion of informal learning experiences. Because of the negative connotation that low-qualified employees attach to learning, it seems that semi-structured interviews did not yield as much information as expected. Originality/value Besides investigating possible antecedents of low-qualified employees' learning intentions, this research also explores what learning means for this group of employees, who traditionally have an educational background that is filled with negative experiences.