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Factors influencing teachers' engagement in informal learning activities

Margaret C. Lohman (Penn State University‐Harrisburg, Middletown, Pennsylvania, USA)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Article publication date: 1 April 2006




The purpose of this study is to examine factors influencing the engagement of public school teachers in informal learning activities.


This study used a survey research design.


Analysis of the data found that teachers rely to a greater degree on interactive than on independent informal learning activities. Three environmental factors inhibit teachers from engaging in informal learning activities: lack of time, lack of proximity to colleagues' work areas, and insufficient funds. In addition, seven personal characteristics enhance teachers' motivation to engage in informal learning: initiative, self‐efficacy, love of learning, interest in the profession, commitment to professional development, a nurturing personality, and an outgoing personality.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of this study was the survey's response rate of 27.7 percent.

Practical implications

The findings from this study give rise to three implications for facilitating informal workplace learning. First, work areas need to be strategically designed so that employees are located near colleagues in the same technical or professional area. Second, a greater amount of unencumbered time must be built into a professional's work day. Third, access to computer technology and the internet should be provided so that professionals can communicate with others and gather information when the need to do so arises.


An important contribution of the present study to new knowledge of workplace learning is the construction of a survey instrument for assessing informal workplace learning. A second contribution is greater understanding of the personal and environmental factors that influence informal workplace learning.



Lohman, M.C. (2006), "Factors influencing teachers' engagement in informal learning activities", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 141-156.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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