Informal learning at workplace : Real case study from the private companies in Bulgaria

Bancheva, Elmira and Ivanova, Mariya Al. (2010) Informal learning at workplace : Real case study from the private companies in Bulgaria. In: 6th European Research Conference "Adult Learning in Europe - understanding diverse meanings and contexts", 23-26 September 2010, Linköping University, Sweden.

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In an era of ongoing change, workplace learning has taken on an increasingly popular role as a vehicle through which organizations can achieve their long-term goals and strategic visions. Informal learning at work has become an extremely important issue and Managers and HRD practitioners have attempted to deploy informal learning in the design of corporate cultures.
Empirical Research on Informal Learning
The term informal learning was first introduced in 1950 by Malcolm Knowles, in his pioneer work “Informal Adult Education”. Since that time, many authors have written about informal learning, offering their unique perspective on the meaning of the term. Nevertheless the broad spectrum of leading theoretical models and used methods in terms of case study, ethnographic, interview and survey approaches, no single theoretical model or methodological approach has yet established dominance. What is now needed is some typology or organizing tool for understanding the different types of informal learning and how these events might be connected to the more formal training undertaken by the worker.
Objectives of the study
This report presents the findings from a study carried out by the NBU, SM between October 2008 and September 2009. (This study is the first of its kind for the Bulgarian environment). The aims of the study were to illustrate the range of practice of informal learning at work, to provide an analysis of these practices in some private companies in Bulgaria in order to propose ways to target case study material at a business audience. More specifically, the research examined: the types of informal learning activities people engage in at work and perceived factors that affect informal learning engagement. The idea was to document the incidental or tacit knowledge and skills that are acquired outside of the formal training program and how these pieces fit together as a strategy for lifelong learning and work.
Through various data collection methods, the investigation was run. Twenty four (24) private small, medium and large companies were selected for the study and 145 managers, HR practitioners and specialists took part in it. Participants were generally full-time employees, and approximately 60% were female. Data sources have included structured and in depth employee questionnaire, and manager and specialists interviews. The research is asking about what happens to the employees that may be related to their learning experiences at work and the extent to which they are engaged in these activities.
Findings and Future Research
As evidenced by the findings of the study, there were certain types of informal learning activities in which the specialists from the companies were most likely to engage and in this sense the advantages of informal learning cannot be denied. But, informal learning is merely one intervention that could resolve all organizational problems. So, consideration must be given and future research are needed to organizational context and culture, assessment of informal learning activities in relation to other activities of everyday life, examination of different categories of employees, etc. in order to find the combination of the right environment and mix of strategies as a foundation for an organization's workplace learning efforts.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:Неформальное обучение на рабочем месте Реальный случай из исследований частных компаний в Болгарии Неформалното учене на работното място. Реал казус от частни компании в България.
Uncontrolled Keywords:Informal learning, workplace, learning at work,organizational environments, questionnaire survey, personal factors, environment factors, culture factors,motivation,
Subjects:Economic and business Administration > Economic policy. Management. Marketing
Education > Education management for adults
Psychology > Cognitive psychology (science)
ID Code:1142
Deposited By: Mariya MAI Ivanova
Deposited On:21 Apr 2012 11:56
Last Modified:08 Oct 2013 07:56

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