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Better learning, better performance: Evidence from the 2004 learning at work survey

Felstead, Alan, Fuller, Alison, Unwin, Lorna, Ashton, David, Butler, Peter and Lee, Tracey (2005) Better learning, better performance: Evidence from the 2004 learning at work survey. NIACE, Ashford, UK. ISBN 978-1-86201-230-1

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    Abstract

    This report presents the main results to emerge from an innovative survey of how employees
    learn at work. It is based on a survey of 1,943 employees interviewed about their jobs in a threeweek
    period in February 2004. Its key findings are as follows:
    • Despite the emphasis placed on training course attendance and the acquisition of
    qualifications by policy-makers, both were lowly rated by our respondents in terms of their
    helpfulness for improved work performance. One in four employees reported that training
    courses were of little or no value in improving work performance and around one in three
    thought that studying for qualifications had not helped them at work.
    • Activities more closely associated with the workplace – such as doing the job, being shown
    things, engaging in self-reflection and keeping one’s eyes and ears open – were reckoned to
    provide more helpful insights into how to do the job better. Over half the sample thought
    that learning by doing was the most effective means of improving work performance, with
    90 per cent agreeing that they had picked up most of their skills through on-the-job
    experience. This applies to all types of worker, but it is of particular relevance to those lower
    down the occupational hierarchy.
    • Working provides the most important source of learning once in a job. In other words, the
    most effective classroom is often the workplace itself. Almost nine out of ten respondents
    said that their job required them to learn new things and pass on tips to colleagues.
    • Despite the hype surrounding the use of e-learning, half of those interviewed reported that
    the Internet had been of no use whatsoever in helping them to improve their work
    performance.
    • The survey found that employees learn more when they are involved in organising, planning
    and checking the quality of their own work.
    • Good line management also enhances learning. Managers who offer better advice, are more
    understanding, spend more time coaching and provide more counselling to those in their
    charge are rewarded with more effective and productive staff.
    The survey results should prompt policy-makers to look to the workplace as an importance site
    of learning and encourage researchers to focus on the usefulness of work activities themselves
    as effective sources of learning.

    Item Type: Book
    Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
    H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
    Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
    Related URLs:
    Depositing User: Sara Taylor
    Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2010 12:12
    Last Modified: 31 Aug 2010 10:15
    URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/8387

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