This study aims to find out the means used for individual, group and organizational learning at work at one air navigation service provider after the initial training period. The study also aims to find out what practices need to be improved to enhance learning at work.
The data for the study were collected over four years from several air traffic control (ATC) units of the organisation using different methods. In total, 155 subjects (operative personnel, supervisors) answered a reporting system questionnaire, 20 supervisors participated in interviews and 142 subjects (operative personnel, supervisors) responded to a safety culture questionnaire.
Several learning methods were used in ATC. Some of them were organisation‐wide and mandatory, but others were dependent on the activity of the unit or a single person. Individuals reported problem areas in operative work and learned from them. Group level learning was not actualized in all units of the organisation. Learning was insufficient at the organisational level.
A reporting system is a useful way of learning for individuals working in complex systems such as ATC. To use it for communicative and organisational learning, however, demands the formation of an integrated learning system for the different parts of the organisation and its stakeholders. This system could support conscious analysis of learning material arising from everyday work. These improvements would contribute to securing safety in the field of aviation during major changes.
The paper provides information on the strengths and weaknesses of learning in one complex, high reliability, work area. The study shows that the latest knowledge regarding learning at work was not utilized effectively.
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