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Trainers’ learning conditions, informal and formal learning and barriers to learning

Sebastian Anselmann (Department of Vocational Education, University of Education Schwäbisch Gmünd, Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Article publication date: 15 July 2022

Issue publication date: 12 October 2022




The aim of this study is to unveil how professional trainers and training managers describe the learning conditions of their workplaces, what informal and formal learning activities they intend to accomplish and what barriers to learning at work they encounter.


Barriers to learning in the workplace fall under individual, team or organizational aspects that hinder the initiation of or interrupt successful learning, delay proceedings or end learning activities much earlier than intended. Professional trainers (N = 16) and training managers (N = 10) participated in this interview study. Their answers were recorded, transcribed and analyzed via qualitative content analysis.


The participants assessed their work tasks as highly complex and balanced between new challenging tasks and routines. Their formal and informal learning activities were also fundamental to maintaining high performance. The trainers described a broad range of situations in which they suffered barriers to learning at their workplace, with most identifying external learning barriers such as vague supervisor requirements or disruptions from others.


The results of this study describe workplace complexity, which offers stimuli for learning through learning conditions, possibilities to engage in learning and also barriers to learning. To understand workplace complexity, all of these dimensions have to be understood and addressed.



Anselmann, S. (2022), "Trainers’ learning conditions, informal and formal learning and barriers to learning", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 34 No. 8, pp. 742-764.



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