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Workplace learning : meaning, identity and change

posted on 16.01.2017, 05:19 by Shields, James
This study investigates the perceptions of key stakeholders in multinational organisations concerning workplace education. It also investigates the tensions they experience. It identifies key stakeholders as professionals operating as executives, human resources, learning professionals and consultants. The study commences from the premise that there are tensions and implications for workplace learning as it moves from the traditional collective activity to become contemporary, individual and subjectively focused. The inquiry opens with narratives which examine the places in which learning is provided. It identifies the aims and relationships of the various stakeholders as they contend with a changing workplace. The emphasis is on workplace learning as it moves from formal instructor-led scenarios to informal learner-centred settings; changing roles for learning practitioners; socialisation models for work and a workforce which is networked and subjective. These considerations are followed by an interrogation of the literature, that reveals strategies and approaches considered relevant to understanding the tensions challenging stakeholders, as they contend with the changing nature of workplace teaching and learning. This firmly links to tensions identified within previous research and provides a sound rationale for the conduct of this study. Qualitative research is advanced as a suitable philosophical framework for the prosecution of this study as it offers instrumental case studies. The theoretical basis for the interpretation follows the hermeneutic tradition underpinned by a constructivist epistemology as a suitable philosophical framework within which to gain understanding throughout the investigation. The study design used semi-structured interviews and data is gathered and classified as themes for teaching strategies, policy and learning environments. The data classifications were analysed across themes for transforming workplace learning as teaching and learning strategies, managing approaches to knowledge, as well as contestations concerning the ownership of workplace knowledge. Although the original focus of the work assumed particular stakeholder groups would contest policy, ownership and control of learning interventions, what emerged from the analysis identified an additional stakeholder. The inclusion and acknowledgement of the individual employee as a networked citizen operating within a stakeholder group, has wider consequences for teaching and learning. Having examined the principle tensions that impact learning and teaching in the workplace, the study concludes that the notion of networked citizenry can exert significant influence on teaching and learning for work, as well as transforming social networks through worker solidarity.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Peter Sullivan

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Monash University. Faculty of Education. Education


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Education