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Article
Publication date: 25 March 2019

Bieke Schreurs, Antoine Van den Beemt, Nienke Moolenaar and Maarten De Laat

This paper aims to investigate the extent professionals from the vocational sector are networked individuals. The authors explore how professionals use their personal…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the extent professionals from the vocational sector are networked individuals. The authors explore how professionals use their personal networks to engage in a wide variety of learning activities and examine what social mechanisms influence professionals’ agency to form personal informal learning networks.

Design/methodology/approach

This study applied a mixed-method approach to data collection. Social network data were gathered among school professionals working in the vocational sector. Ego-network analysis was performed. A total of 24 in-depth, semi-structured, qualitative interviews were analyzed.

Findings

This study found that networked individualism is not represented to its full potential in the vocational sector. However, it is important to form informal learning ties with different stakeholders because all types of informal learning ties serve different learning purposes. The extent to which social mechanisms (i.e. proximity, trust, level of expertise and homophily) influence professionals’ agency to form informal learning ties differs depending on the stakeholder with whom the informal learning ties are formed.

Research limitations/implications

This study excludes the investigation of social mechanisms that shape learning through more impersonal virtual learning resources, such as social media or expert forums. Moreover, the authors only included individual- and dyadic-level social mechanisms.

Practical implications

By investigating the social mechanisms that shape informal learning ties, this study provides insights how professionals can be stimulated to build rich personal learning networks in the vocational sector.

Originality/value

The authors extend earlier research with in-depth information on the different types of learning activities professionals engage in in their personal learning networks with different stakeholders. The ego-network perspective reveals how different social mechanisms influence professionals’ agency to shape informal learning networks with different stakeholders.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2020

Maarten de Laat, Srecko Joksimovic and Dirk Ifenthaler

To help workers make the right decision, over the years, technological solutions and workplace learning analytics systems have been designed to aid this process…

Abstract

Purpose

To help workers make the right decision, over the years, technological solutions and workplace learning analytics systems have been designed to aid this process (Ruiz-Calleja et al., 2019). Recent developments in artificial intelligence (AI) have the potential to further revolutionise the integration of human and artificial learning and will impact human and machine collaboration during team work (Seeber et al., 2020).

Design/methodology/approach

Complex problem-solving has been identified as one of the key skills for the future workforce (Hager and Beckett, 2019). Problems faced by today's workforce emerge in situ and everyday workplace learning is seen as an effective way to develop the skills and experience workers need to embrace these problems (Campbell, 2005; Jonassen et al., 2006).

Findings

In this commentary the authors argue that the increased digitization of work and social interaction, combined with recent research on workplace learning analytics and AI opens up the possibility for designing automated real-time feedback systems capable of just-in-time, just-in-place support during complex problem-solving at work. As such, these systems can support augmented learning and professional development in situ.

Originality/value

The commentary reflects on the benefits of automated real-time feedback systems and argues for the need of shared research agenda to cohere research in the direction of AI-enabled workplace analytics and real-time feedback to support learning and development in the workplace.

Details

The International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, vol. 37 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4880

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Article
Publication date: 8 August 2008

Sanne Akkerman, Christian Petter and Maarten de Laat

The notion of communities of practice (CoP) has received great attention in educational and organisational practice and research. Although the concept originally refers to…

Abstract

Purpose

The notion of communities of practice (CoP) has received great attention in educational and organisational practice and research. Although the concept originally refers to collaborative practices that emerge naturally, educational and HRD practitioners are increasingly searching for ways to create these practices intentionally in order to stimulate learning and professional development in specific fields. This paper aims to gain insight into ways in which communities of practice can be deliberately organised.

Design/methodology/approach

The study concerns a multiple case study of the deliberate initiation of 15 communities of practice of small and medium‐sized companies in the tourist sector, located in seven European countries. The analysis focuses on how meaningful, shared and coordinative activity is organised in each of the 15 cases. A multiple case study allowed for comparison between the various cases in order to target fruitful conditions and actions in organisation processes.

Findings

In the initiation of a CoP it is important that before an outsider starts to organise and coordinate activities questions such as “How are we relevant to one another?” and “Who are we and where are we going?” are answered first, and by the group itself. These questions relate to the development of meaningful activity (domain) and of shared activity (community). Following this, any coordinative system, any practice, should be subordinated to the motives of the group.

Originality/value

Besides identifying various actions for human resource developers who aim to apply the concept of CoP in professional work, the study contributes to the scientific formulation of pedagogical notions around communities of practice.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 20 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2006

Kariene Mittendorff, Femke Geijsel, Aimee Hoeve, Maarten de Laat and Loek Nieuwenhuis

The purpose of this research is to get a clear view on how can we judge groups in relation to the characteristics of a community of practice (CoP), and the presence of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to get a clear view on how can we judge groups in relation to the characteristics of a community of practice (CoP), and the presence of collective learning in these groups.

Design/methodology/approach

A review of literature on collective learning and CoPs led to the development of a conceptual model, which was tested through case study research against empirical data from three groups in organizations.

Findings

The groups differed concerning group characteristics, but also concerning the collective learning processes and learning outcomes present. The group that can be characterized as a CoP learns a lot, but the (learning) processes in the group are not always in favour of the organizational learning process.

Research limitations/implications

The conceptual framework was helpful to evaluate the characteristics of CoPs in relation to collective learning. These findings suggest that it will be interesting to expand the model, for example with consideration to the way CoPs experience the need to change.

Practical implications

The developed framework might help managers to judge if groups in an organization have characteristics of a CoP, if they are in balance and what might be needed to develop towards an ideal CoP with a great learning potential.

Originality/value

A first attempt is made to build a framework for judging CoPs for several aspects of their functioning. The research also shows that CoPs are not always stimulating forces for organizational learning.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 18 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 July 2006

Darryl Dymock

Abstract

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 18 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Content available
Article
Publication date: 8 August 2008

Sara Cervai and Tauno Kekale

Abstract

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 20 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

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Article
Publication date: 6 December 2019

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context.

Findings

Informal learning ties posses scope to play a substantial role in the development of professionals. Creating such ties with different key internal and external stakeholders provides a valuable source of learning opportunities. Different social mechanisms can influence network creation and enhance the quality of learning that emerges as a result.

Originality/value

The briefing saves busy executives and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy-to-digest format.

Details

Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, vol. 34 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7282

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 29 August 2017

Abstract

Details

Work-Integrated Learning in the 21st Century
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-859-8

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Article
Publication date: 3 September 2021

Dawn Joseph, Reshmi Lahiri-Roy and Jemima Bunn

This research is situated at a metropolitan university in Melbourne (Australia) where the authors work in initial teacher education programs within the same faculty. The…

Abstract

Purpose

This research is situated at a metropolitan university in Melbourne (Australia) where the authors work in initial teacher education programs within the same faculty. The purpose of this study is to raise awareness that collegial, collaborative and “co-caring” environments can foster an improved sense of belonging, acceptance and inclusion in the academy. They also argue that communities of practice may foster an improved sense of belonging that enhances empowerment and harmony among all staff in academia in pandemic times and beyond.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw on case study methodology as a qualitative approach to understand and illuminate the phenomena under study. Case study methodology provides an in-depth understanding of their trifocal voices, as it allows them to voice their stories through collaborative autoethnography. The authors use self-narratives to unpack their sense of belonging in academic spaces. Collaborative autoethnography (CAE) enabled them to work together as a team of women and as a community of researchers.

Findings

The findings foreground the responsibilities of casual staff while concomitantly articulating the challenges faced by both permanent and casual staff to create a “sense of belonging” in the academy. The authors found that social connection engenders a sense of belonging and inclusion within a space that is often beset by neoliberal ideologies of competitiveness and individual achievement. They articulate their stress, pressure and uncertainty as permanent and as casual academics working supportively to develop and maintain identity in very difficult circumstances. They share how they developed professional relationships which bring unforeseen benefits and personal friendship at a time of especially restrictive practices.

Research limitations/implications

The paper includes three voices, a limitation in itself, thus generalisations cannot be made to other academics or institutions. Employing CAE offers the possibility of delving more deeply into the emotional complexities inherent within this method for further research. They recommend a sense of “co-caring” as a form of pastoral care in the “induction program” for all academics including casual staff. While this may not “strategically” fit in with many because of power imbalances, the journey of co-caring and sharing and building friendships within the academy has a limited presence in the literature and calls for further investigation.

Practical implications

The authors draw attention to the need for higher education institutes to recognise the role permanent staff play when working with casual academics.

Social implications

The authors draw attention to the need to be inclusive and collaborative as a way to improve the divide and strengthen connections between permanent and casual academics at university worksites. This is imperative given the shifting demographics within Australia and its workforce. They also highlight issues of race in the academy.

Originality/value

This is an original work carried out by the authors. It raises concerns about a sense of belonging in the academy, job certainty and the place of people of colour as these issues may also be experienced by other full-time and casual academics.

Details

Qualitative Research Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1443-9883

Keywords

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