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Understanding learning spillover: the major role of reflection in the formal–informal learning interaction within different cultural value settings

Svenja Richter (Department of Industrial/Organizational and Social Psychology, TU Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany)
Timo Kortsch (Denkverstärker GbR, Braunschweig, Germany)
Simone Kauffeld (Department of Industrial/Organizational and Social Psychology, TU Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Article publication date: 24 September 2020

Issue publication date: 1 October 2020

Abstract

Purpose

This study uses a holistic approach to learning at work to examine the role of reflection in the formal–informal learning interaction. The purpose of this study is to investigate how the reflection on a formal training affects the subsequent informal learning activities. This study also aims to provide insights into the effects of national culture values (in terms of uncertainty avoidance) on learning in the context of a globalized world of work.

Design/methodology/approach

In a longitudinal study, 444 employees working for a global acting automotive company located in 6 countries were surveyed 2 times (4–6 weeks between both measurements). Participants reflected on a training they participated in (t1: satisfaction and utility) and indicated their informal learning activities (t2). Structural equation modelling was used to investigate the effect of the reflection of training (t1) on the proceeding use of informal learning strategies (t2) and how uncertainty avoidance affects the use of different learning forms.

Findings

Results show a spillover effect: when employees reflect a formal training and rate it as satisfying, more use of informal learning proceeds. No effects were found for utility. Uncertainty avoidance had direct effects: high uncertainty avoidance results in better evaluations and more informal learning. Furthermore, uncertainty avoidance had an indirect effect on informal learning via reflection.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to investigate the formal–informal learning interaction longitudinally and to introduce reflection as a mediator within this process. Furthermore, the study provides evidence that uncertainty avoidance is an important factor for formal and informal learning in the globalized world of work.

Keywords

Citation

Richter, S., Kortsch, T. and Kauffeld, S. (2020), "Understanding learning spillover: the major role of reflection in the formal–informal learning interaction within different cultural value settings", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 32 No. 7, pp. 513-532. https://doi.org/10.1108/JWL-01-2020-0008

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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