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Article
Publication date: 22 September 2022

Gabriela Bjørnsen, Ulrich Dettweiler, Ove Njå and Knud Knudsen

The purpose of this paper is to study how learning within the fire and rescue services may be conceptualized, with special attention paid to tunnel fire safety. Previous…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study how learning within the fire and rescue services may be conceptualized, with special attention paid to tunnel fire safety. Previous studies have developed a model to understand learning in emergency response work. The concept of learning is extended from observed changes in relevant settings to also encompass confirmation of existing knowledge and comprehension of existing practices. We are interested in investigating the properties of the learning model and identifying the mechanisms that influence fire and rescue personnel’s experiences of change, confirmation and/or comprehension.

Design/methodology/approach

This study relies on quantitative data obtained from a questionnaire answered by 939 Norwegian fire and rescue personnel. Multivariate methods have been used to identify the measurement model and the structural relations of the factors.

Findings

The results confirm the theoretical model and indicate that the outcome of learning is influenced by elements of content, context, commitment, decision-making and response and reflection, and that the influence of content and commitment on the outcome of learning is partially indirect and mediated through reflection.

Originality/value

To date, no systematic analysis has been conducted to investigate the factorial structure, as well as the interactions and relationship between the model’s components. This study makes an important contribution to a detailed understanding of learning within the fire and rescue services.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 35 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 September 2011

Morten Sommer and Ove Njå

The purpose of this study is to reveal and analyse dominant learning processes in emergency response work from the fire‐fighters' point of view, and how fire‐fighters…

1186

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to reveal and analyse dominant learning processes in emergency response work from the fire‐fighters' point of view, and how fire‐fighters develop their competence.

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopted an explorative approach using participant observation. The objective of this open‐minded approach was to discover how, when and where learning took place.

Findings

There are several areas for learning that contribute to fire‐fighters' development of competence: training, exercises, responses to incidents, storytelling, discussions, lectures, courses, introduction of new technology/knowledge and reading of articles/literature. However, learning to act appropriately in emergency situations is mainly a result of the embodiment of skills and knowledge (getting the feel of it, or “getting it in the finger” as the Norwegian idiom puts it), personal experience and interpersonal sharing of stories.

Research limitations/implications

The study concludes that learning amongst fire‐fighters follows a process of legitimate peripheral participation, as well as learning being a personal development for the individual fire‐fighter. A combination of a socio‐cultural approach to learning and an individual cognitive approach is thus needed to fully understand learning processes.

Practical implications

Learning can be improved by actors becoming more reflexive practitioners, where responses are critically evaluated and established knowledge and practice are questioned. Efforts to improve learning amongst fire‐fighters should accordingly include systematic sharing of experiences and development of more challenging exercises which will help to enhance bodily experience of new knowledge.

Originality/value

This study extends current understanding of learning and competence development in emergency work. It presents essential learning activities, in addition to the dominant learning mechanism in personal development. The study clarifies the potential for learning through planned learning processes as opposed to the contribution from informal, ad hoc, socio‐cultural means of learning.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 23 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 13 September 2011

Sara Cervai and Tauno Kekale

272

Abstract

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 23 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

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