Interest in learning at work has captured the attention of many people around the world, often taking centre stage in policy debates about improving economic performance, prosperity and well-being. This book is about the learning that goes on in workplaces – ranging from offices, factories and shops to gyms, health centres and universities – and how it can be improved. Such learning includes everyday work activity, on-the-job instruction and off-the-job training events.
Improving Working as Learning is the first book to analyze systematically learning at work in different settings by developing and applying a new analytical framework. The Working as Learning Framework connects the particularities of work tasks with the way jobs are organized and the wider pressures and constraints organizations face for survival, growth and development. The authors convincingly demonstrate that the framework offers a sophisticated understanding of how improving the work environment – both within the workplace and beyond – can enhance and sustain improvements in learning at work.
Each chapter presents evidence – taken from both private and public sectors – to illustrate how the Working as Learning Framework provides a means by which employers, researchers and policy-makers can
- Improve the conditions for nurturing and sustaining learning at work
- Build appropriate workforce development plans within given constraints
- Recognize that the creation and use of knowledge is widely distributed
- Mobilize existing workplace resources to support learning
- Enhance and extend our understanding of how workplace learning is shaped by relationships at, and beyond, the workplace
This topical book will appeal to an international readership of undergraduate and postgraduate students, vocational teachers and trainers, human resource professionals, policy-makers, and researchers.
Table of Contents
1. Setting the Scene 2. Mapping the Working as Learning Framework 3. Processing Calls 4. Promoting Health 5. Exercising to Music 6. Creating Knowledge 7. Making Sandwiches 8. Utilizing Artefacts 9. Bringing Working and Learning Together
Alan Felstead is Research Professor in the Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University.
Alison Fuller is Professor of Education and Work in the School of Education, University of Southampton.
Nick Jewson is Honorary Research Fellow in the Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University.
Lorna Unwin is Professor of Vocational Education in the Institute of Education, University of London.
"This is a great book. It succeeds in the nearly impossible task of presenting empirical and theoretical depth in a way that is engaging and easy to read. I can recommend it to students, researchers and anyone who is interested in work or learning. It thoroughly deserves to be an academic best seller."
- Irena Grugulis, Professor of Employment Studies, AIM/ESRC Services Fellow, Bradford University School of Management.
"For most of us, most of the time, work plays a central part in our lives. Improving Working as Learning, by four prominent and widely-published scholars, looks at the ways in which people learn as part of their everyday working life. Drawing on an impressive array of solid social science research, this is an original and wide-ranging book, with far-reaching conclusions that challenge conventional views of how work is to be organized and valued. It is a landmark study for anyone interested in workplace learning."
- John Field, Professor of Lifelong Learning and Co-Director of the Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning, University of Stirling.
"This book offers exciting new insights from the latest research on the workplace as a site of learning. It will be an invaluable resource for employers, policy-makers and practitioners."
- David Finegold, Dean and Professor, School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA.
"This book provides a very welcome contribution to our understanding of how the organization of work can enhance or restrict learning. As employment in the UK becomes increasingly knowledge based, understanding the key drivers of workplace learning will be critical to developing effective skills policies in the future."
- Ian Brinkley, Knowledge Economy Programme Director, The Work Foundation.
"This book should inform and inspire anyone who wants to understand and improve workplace learning. That should include researchers, students, human resource professionals, and policy makers...The final sentence of Improving Working as Learning almost invites researchers to take up the Working as Learning Framework to ‘play an active role in facilitating dialogue within organisations in order to reveal how improving workplace learning can be achieved’ (p. 206). Given the importance of the issues, let us hope that researchers and organisations take up the offer." - Gordon Parker, Freelance Research and Evaluation Consultant, University of Derby and Sheffield Hallam University