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ERIC Number: EJ1087453
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 43
ISSN: ISSN-1448-0220
Work, Discretion and Learning: Processes of Life Learning and Development at Work
Billett, Stephen
International Journal of Training Research, v13 n3 p214-230 2015
Knowing how adults learn through work is central to understanding their development across working lives. That development is important for their personal trajectories, and ability to contribute, sustain and advance the interests of their workplaces, and collectively to the social and economic viability of their communities and nations. This paper uses data about work and learning from a large national survey, to validate and elaborate findings from earlier qualitative enquiries into learning through work conducted by the author. The simple intent is to gauge the degree to which findings from the two are consistent. The descriptive, quantitative analysis indicates informants refer to learning through their everyday work activities occurring more frequently than when being guided by more experienced co-workers, experts or supervisors. Also identified is the pedagogic potential of work in terms of discretion and kinds of problem-solving available for these workers. Yet, these opportunities for learning are distributed asymmetrically on the bases of indicators such as levels of education, age, occupational status and working in particular occupations and industry sectors. These factors contribute to both the frequency and kind of learning opportunities afforded to workers through their everyday activities and interactions. Much of what is proposed within earlier qualitative inquiries about how learning arises through work is upheld here, but advanced further in terms of evidence about how opportunities for working and learning are distributed. Moreover, these quantitative data offer insights about the ways in which affordances of workplaces are distributed, thereby raising considerations of how the organisation of work activities plays a role in distributing these opportunities.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia