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Improving Incentives to Learning in the Workplace

  • Start date: 03 April 2000
  • End date: 30 June 2003

The workplace is an important site of learning and access to learning opportunities, yet its primary purpose is the production of goods and services. Therefore, in order to understand the incentives and barriers to learning at work, learning must be located in the broader context of the employment relationship and developments in work organisation which can support or undermine effective learning strategies. Through five inter-related research projects. the network will work with practitioners to develop an inter-disciplinary understanding of the processes and context of workplace learning. Two major themes run through the projects: (1) the role of the broader regulatory framework of the employment relationship in supporting a learning environment (including the influence of wages and conditions, contractual agreements, the presence of employee voice and the establishment of entitlements to learning); (2) and the concept of apprenticeship as a model of learning. Apprenticeship, understood as membership of a community of practice, recognises the significance of informal learning linked to job design, work organisation and workgroup dynamics, as well as the role of managers, supervisors and experienced practitioners in creating formal and informal learning opportunities. A better understanding of learning practice at, for and through the workplace will contribute to improved practice amongst a range of practitioners