Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making



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KEY WORDS: Organizational Change; Organizational Learning; Professional Competence; Technology; Computer Assisted Instruction; Computers; Internet.

Netteland, G., Wasson, B., & Morch, A. (2007). E-learning in a large organization: A study of the critical role of information sharing. Journal of Workplace Learning, 19(6), 392-411.


This paper aims to provide new insights into the implementation of large-scale learning projects through a better understanding the difficulties, frustrations, and obstacles encountered when implementing enterprise-wide e-learning as a tool for training and organization transformation in a complex organization. Third generation activity theory, specifically the notions network of activity systems, disturbances, tensions and contradictions, is employed as an analytical lens. The study identifies how information sharing disturbances became a critical factor in the implementation of e-learning in a large company.
KEY WORDS: E-Learning; Activity Theory; CHAT; Organization; Workplace Learning.
Overton, L. (2006). Altering learning provision. E.learning Age, 35-36.
The author's propose to increase awareness of what employers want from e-learning with the relatively new Sector Skills Council (SSC), twenty-five organizations who have been tasked with representing employers' skills needs and influencing government provision. The SSCs are in place to understand what employers actually need from learning and to stand in the gap on their behalf in working with government agencies of learning provision. Currently, much of the e-learning work has been focused on the school and formal education system -- reform in these areas is key. E-learning has the opportunity to radically alter government learning provision -- encouraging flexible credit based learning programs more closely aligned to business needs. The SSCs will be key agents of change in this process and it is important that they are equipped for this role and connected with employer needs.
KEY WORDS: Provisions; Government Agencies; Online Instruction; Changes; Western Europe; Internet Communications; Development; Public Sector; United Kingdom; UK.

Rennie, L. J. (2001). Teacher collaboration in curriculum change: The implementation of technology education in the primary school. Research in Science Education, 31(1), 49-69.


Documents the ways in which one teacher from each school established successful classroom strategies for incorporating technology into classroom life using case studies from two Western Australian schools. Discusses implications in terms of leadership and collaboration.
KEY WORDS: Cooperation; Educational Change; Educational Strategies; Elementary Education; Foreign Countries; Leadership; Teacher Attitudes; Technological Literacy; Technology Education; Work and Learning.

Revill, G., Terrell, I., Powell, S., & Tindal, I. (2005). Learning in the workplace: A new degree online. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 42(3), 231-245.


This paper reports on attempts to develop a new learning in the workplace degree based upon an online learning community approach. The paper describes the use of individualised learning plans, shared electronic portfolios and collaborative reflection on practice. Online strategies such as "hotseating" and the use of workplace advocates are illustrated. The paper exhibits that it is possible to build an online community for an award-bearing workplace learning degree but that new tools and approaches need to be developed to ensure self-directed learning from experience and through reflection can take place in a community of learners.
KEY WORDS: Exhibits; Online Courses; Labor Education; Continuing Education; Student Centered Curriculum; Independent Study; Educational Innovation; Discourse Communities.

Rosow, L. V. (2001). Technology in education: Equity and theory are key. TechTrends, 46(4), 31-39.


The author shares ways technology may empower students and how it has enabled her as a teacher to expand beyond some of the traditional boundaries for writing, reading, and assessment. In the discussion, the importance of economic and environmental equity and the need for theory to inform pedagogy are emphasized.
KEY WORDS: Access to Computers; Access to Education; Curriculum Development; Educational Development; Educational Technology; Educational Theories; Equal Education; Student Empowerment; Technology Implementation; Technology Role.

Ruiz-Mercader, J., Merono-Cerdan, A. L., & Sabater-Sanchez, R. (2006). Information technology and learning: Their relationship and impact on organisational performance in small businesses. International Journal of Information Management, 26(1), 16-29.


Within knowledge management processes, information technology is considered a key tool. The authors argue, however, that the presence of information technology (IT) neither guarantees knowledge creation, knowledge distribution nor knowledge use. To support knowledge management, a job environment and a culture that encourage sharing and continuous learning should also be created and maintained. This paper provides empirical evidence of the relationship between IT and learning in small businesses as well as their impact on organisational performance. As well, the knowledge-intensity of the sector is accounted for. Results suggest that learning along with individual and collaborative IT have a positive and significant impact on organisational learning. On the other hand, individual and organisational learning have shown significant and positive effects on organisational performance. Therefore, conclude the authors, IT has a significant impact on outcomes only when in a proper context of learning is in place.
KEY WORDS: ICT; Knowledge Management; Knowledge Mobilization; Workplace Training; Organizational Learning; Collaboration.

Sawchuk, P. H. (2003). Informal learning as a speech-exchange system: Implications for knowledge production, power and social transformation. Discourse & Society, 14(3), 291-307.


Most empirical investigations of 'informal learning' either arbitrarily operationalize the term or take common sense notions of the term as the basis for their claims. Few studies to date have problematized the phenomenon itself with reference to its accomplishment in moment-by-moment interaction. This article draws on detailed analysis to make claims about the nature of informal learning as a distinct speech-exchange system with features of both formal pedagogical communication and everyday conversation. The analysis shows how two novice computer users can collectively construct a Zone of Proximal Development for their learning. I discuss ambiguities of informal learning, the difficulties of computer-mediated learning interaction specifically, and the political significance of shared control over turn-allocation. I conclude that analysis of informal learning as a speech-exchange system is useful and that learning can be understood outside of expert-novice relationships. The broader social implications of this are that hierarchical knowledge/power relations are not necessarily definitive of the learning process. This, in turn, provides support for the claim that informal learning may be a means of transforming rather than reproducing knowledge forms.
KEY WORDS: Informal Learning; Zone of Proximal Development; Pedagogical Communication; Political Significance; Novice Computer Users; Speech-Exchange System; Computer-Mediated Learning; Conversation.

Schwier, R. A. (2001). Catalysts, emphases, and elements of virtual learning communities: Implications for research and practice. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 2(1), 5-18.


Examines theoretical and conceptual issues around promoting the growth of virtual learning communities and considers issues around using communication technologies in formal and informal learning environments. Highlights include: the theoretical context of community; categories for examining virtual learning communities; emphases of virtual learning communities; ten elements of community; and research issues raised by virtual learning communities.
KEY WORDS: Community Characteristics; Community Development; Computer Mediated Communication; Computer Uses in Education; Distance Education; Educational Technology; Learning Communities; Learning Environments; Virtual Communities.

Selwyn, N., & Gorard, S. (2003). Exploring the "New" imperatives of technology-based lifelong learning. Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 8(1), 73-92.


Policy discourse about lifelong learning has shifted from economic imperative to social and moral pursuit and intrinsic good. Despite this, the emphasis on technological solutions in Information Age discourse subjugates social, civic, and political concerns to an economic competitiveness rationale.
KEY WORDS: Discourse Analysis; Educational Attitudes; Educational Objectives; Educational Technology; Foreign Countries; Information Technology; Learning Motivation; Lifelong Learning; Public Policy; Telecommunications; United Kingdom.
Smith, B. Q. (2006). Outsourcing and digitized work spaces: Some implications of the intersections of globalization, development, and work practices. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 49(7), 596-607.
This article reports on a study of a large, outsourcing IT company operating in Ghana. The author proposes that the information technology (IT) and business process (BP) outsourcing workspaces that are springing up in "less developed" economies offer sites to challenge the apparent mass transfer of notions of workplace literacy as functional, skill-based, and thus somehow neutral and unproblematic onto other contexts. Historically, as a result of this link, World Bank; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; United Nations Development Programme; United States Agency for International Development; and International Monetary Fund projects for these regions have been tied either directly or indirectly to literacy.
KEY WORDS: Outsourcing; ICT; IT; Globalization; Learning; Skills; Literacy; Workplace Training; Digitized Work Spaces.

Spitz-Oener, A. (2006). Technical change, job tasks, and rising educational demands: Looking outside the wage structure. Journal of Labor Economics, 24(2), 235-270.


The author draws attention to the inability of empirical work to directly study whether skill requirements in the workplace have been rising and whether these changes have been related to technological change. This article uses a unique data set from West Germany that provides data on how skill requirements have changed within occupations. The study shows that occupations require more complex skills today than in 1979 and that the changes in skill requirements have been most pronounced in rapidly computerizing occupations. Changes in occupational content account for about 36% of the recent educational upgrading in employment.
KEY WORDS: Technology; ICT; Skill; Occupational Change; Knowledge-Based Economy; West Germany; Job Complexity.

Stephenson, J., & Saxton, J. (2005). Using the internet to gain personalized degrees from learning through work: Some experience from Ufi. Industry & higher education, 19(3), 249-258.


Presented are the outcomes of a systematic review of first cohort experiences using Ufi's online Learning through Work (LtW) facility. This was to negotiate personalized programmes of study leading to full university awards based on projects related to their everyday work. Learning through work and wider experience of online work-based learning are discussed. As well, the main features of the LtW programme are described. Data are drawn from user surveys and in-depth interviews of participants. A grounded theory methodology is used to allow propositions to emerge from the data about user readiness, institutional responses and wider impact on the learners and their work-place. Propositions are presented for discussion in the wider context of learner-managed learning and the use of the Internet for university-recognized learning through work.
KEY WORDS: Educational Sociology; Economics of Education; Academic Success; Academic Achievement; Higher Education; Internet; Universities; Learning; Empirical Research; Comparative Analysis; United Kingdom.

Svensson, L., Ellstrom, P.-E., & Aberg, C. (2004). Integrating formal and informal learning at work. Journal of Workplace Learning: Employee Counselling Today, 16(8), 479-491.


A model for workplace learning is put forth and looks to integrate formal and informal learning through the use of e-learning. An assumption is made that the integration of formal and informal learning is necessary in order to create desirable competencies, from individual and an organisational perspectives. The article uses two case studies to test the model. One study is set in an industrial setting, while the other is performed in a hospital. There are some promising results in terms of flexibility and accessibility, but some problems have yet to be solved. These problems primarily deal with the integration of individual and organisational learning, and with the lack of time for reflection and learning during conditions of down-sizing and rationalisation.
KEY WORDS: Workplace Learning; Computer Based Learning; Informal Learning; Formal Learning.

Thornburg, D. (2002). The new basics: Education and the future of work in the telematic age. Alexandria: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.


The increasing globalization of work, coupled with rapid advancement in communications technology, is making age-old teaching methods irrelevant. To thrive in the plugged-in future workplace, students today need to learn a whole new set of fundamental skills. This book starts by presenting the author's assumptions and biases with regard to economic cycles and evolution, and standards. It explores the foundations of the future economy, the notion of the telematic age driven by information technology, the characteristics needed to succeed in this emerging world, and the changes needed to be made in education to ensure that all students leave school prepared to face the challenges of a world undergoing continual redefinition. It provides an in-depth discussion of the skills necessary for professional success in the coming years, along with strategies on how best to teach them in the classroom.
KEY WORDS: Education; Technological Innovations; Labour Supply; Work and Learning.

Truex, D. (2001). ERP system as facilitating and confounding factors in corporate mergers: The case of two Canadian telecommunications companies. NALL Working Paper No. 63. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at: www.nall.ca.


This paper describes an ongoing action research project initiated to assess the impact of the introduction of an enterprise resource planning system (SAP R3) in a single Canadian telecommunications company, BCTel (British Columbia Telephone Company). In the midst of the research program it was announced BCTel would merge with another Canadian telecommunications company, TELUS, of Alberta. This development was specifically noted \ given that both companies had each recently adopted SAP R3 using similar reference models and system components, albeit ones implemented quite differently at each company. The merger was seen to give further credence to the prediction that the use of common reference models and ERP systems would remove significant barriers to organizational integration and spawn industry consolidation.
KEY WORDS: Organizational integration; Action research; Resource planning.

Vaast, E. (2007). What goes online comes off line: Knowledge management system use in a soft bureaucracy. Organizational Studies, 28(3), 283-306.


This paper investigates when and how online practices (i.e. practices of management and use of web-based Information Technology) impact offline practices (i.e. regular work practices and communication patterns) within a bureaucratic environment. The article's investigation centres on a case study of implementation and use of a knowledge management system by members of a network of practice within the bureaucratic environment of a public administration. The findings of the case study are interpreted through a situated learning perspective, with attention to the process of continuity between online and offline practices. Findings indicate that the constructed continuity within the network of practice emerged from a combination of structural changes in the environment and of the involvement of key actors who actively encouraged others to integrate their online practices into their regular activities. The paper's findings provide a basis for understanding the processes of construction of continuity of online and offline practices and the bounded impacts of this continuity within bureaucracies. According to the article, such continuity may contribute to the circumscribed emergence of a soft bureaucracy in which professional competences and exchanges are recognized and encouraged, while the structural features of decision making, control, and resource allocation remain unchanged.
KEY WORDS: Bureaucracy; Knowledge Management; Professionals; Online; ICT; Networks of Practice; Situated Learning Perspective.

Walmsley, B. (2003). Partnership-centered learning: The case for pedagogic balance in technology education. Journal of Technology Education, 14(2), 56-69.


Results of the Cognitive Holding Power Questionnaire completed by 480 Australian technology education students suggest that design-based technology classes develop higher-order thinking skills. Teachers are attempting to balance support with student autonomy and control while shifting to learner-centered instruction. However, they may be emphasizing doing over thinking and planning.
KEY WORDS: Educational Change; Educational Strategies; Foreign Countries; Secondary Education; Technology Education; Thinking Skills; Work and Learning.

Wannell, T., & Ali, J. (2002). Working smarter. Perspectives(Winter), 48-59.


This integrative study examines the relationship between the introduction of technology, training and education.
KEY WORDS: Skill; Technology; Management; ICT; Knowledge; Underemployment; Upgrading.
Wiersma, E. (2007). Conditions that shape the learning curve: Factors that increase the ability and opportunity to learn. Management Science, 53(12), 1903-1915.
This article uses data collected within the Royal Dutch Mail, which has 27 geographically dispersed regions. Although these 27 regions are homogeneous with respect to their tasks, internal organization, type of products delivered, and technology used, their learning rates differ considerably. The author finds that this variation in learning rates is explained by: 1) the percentage of temporary employees used, 2) the level of excess capacity, 3) the degree of product heterogeneity, and 4) the degree to which regions face problems in other important performance dimensions.
KEY WORDS: Organization; Restructuring; Learning; Temporary Employees; Workplace Training.

Wolfe, C. R. (2001). Creating informal learning environments on the World Wide Web. In C. R. Wolfe (Ed.), Learning and teaching on the World Wide Web (pp. 91-112). San Diego: Academic Press.


This chapter describes principles and strategies that support the creation of informal learning environments on the World Wide Web. The discussion is informed by over five years of experience developing the Dragonfly Web Pages, an informal science education environment on the Web. The author describes the following Web page departments: expository text, interactive experiences, side bars, links to related resources, and off-line investigations, as well as assessment and evaluation. A discussion of the development of the Dragonfly Web Pages includes five principles of the American Psychological Association Work Group that address cognitive and motivational factors influencing learning; the role of play in the development of scientific learning; and research on gist formation. Strategies for creating informal learning environments on the Web are outlined.
KEY WORDS: Informal Learning Environments; Dragonfly Web Pages; World Wide Web; Cognitive & Motivational Factors; American Psychological Association; Role of Play in Scientific Learning; Gist Formation; Children.



Section 5.2

Immigrants, Work and Learning




Alfred, M. V. (2003). Sociocultural contexts and learning: Anglophone Caribbean immigrant women in U.S. postsecondary education. Adult Education Quarterly, 53(4), 242-260.


A study framed by sociocultural theory involved 15 British Caribbean women immigrants in the United States. Home country culture and early schooling involved learning experiences in the host country. They faced challenges in negotiating language and identity. Length of time in the new culture, level of social support, and sociocultural environment influenced learning.
KEY WORDS: Acculturation; Adult Learning; Cultural Context; Females; Immigrants; Learning Processes; Postsecondary Education; Socialization; Caribbean.

Batalova, J., & Lowell, B. L. (2006). "The best and the brightest": Immigrant professionals in the U.S. In M. P. Smith & A. Favell (Eds.), The human face of global mobility: International highly skilled migration in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific (Vol. 8, pp. 81-101). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.


The article provides a broad profile of highly skilled US migrating workers. The authors look at all levels of professional workers to argue that immigrant professionals do not escape the assimilation costs of employment in a foreign nation, and not all professionals face the same opportunities. Analysis of the Immigration Act of 1965 as the architecture of the US immigration system identifies the importance of education to assimilation into the US labour market. The classification of immigrants by the vague definitions of "the best and the brightest" and measurements of "highly skilled" are argued to be better classified in terms of education and occupation as explicated by Loftrom. Analysis of the percent of foreign born in the US work force identifies the tendency to be underemployed despite higher wages, and to outperform natives. The lack of understanding of how patterns of education play out for immigrants, and the fact that certain occupations are heavily impacted by ready supply of immigrants, raises questions about the impact on earnings and market signals sent down the chain of supply to students in US higher education. The differential concentration of immigrants on labour market outcomes need to be studied if policymakers are to adequately understand and design immigration and labour market policies in an increasingly competitive global market for highly skilled workers.
KEY WORDS: Immigrant Professionals; Professional; Underemployment; Work.

Bernardeschi, D. (2006). Family background and the realization of acquired "skills" in the host country. Religioni e Societa, 54, 97-100.


Observations are made on immigrants' education & profession in the old country & their occupation in the host country, drawing on data of a survey (N = 315) of immigrants in six Italian communities of the Valdera area -- Capannoli, Chianni, Lajatico, Palaia, Peccioli, & Terricciola -- carried out between April & June 2004. Albanian, Moroccan, Romanian, Polish, Ukrainian, & Moldavian nationalities are discussed separately & briefly, focusing on their original socioeconomic status, the education & professional training they received, & occupation they performed in their native countries & the reasons & motives behind their decision to emigrate & accept low-level & low-paying jobs in Italy. It is concluded that although almost none of the respondents was able to find work in his/her area of expertise or professional training, the difficult economic situation & high unemployment in their countries force them to leave & accept worse jobs & lower pay (in comparison to native Italians) in the host country. Prospects of eventually bettering their standard of living & securing better future for their children were the overriding concerns for these immigrants & not pursuing profession for which they were trained but in which they were unable to find an employment in the country of origin.
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