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ERIC Number: EJ807667
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 10
ISSN: ISSN-1547-9714
The Lifelong Learning Iceberg of Information Systems Academics--A Study of On-Going Formal and Informal Learning by Academics
Davey, Bill; Tatnall, Arthur
Journal of Information Technology Education, v6 p241-248 2007
This article describes a study that examined the lifelong learning of information systems academics in relation to their normal work. It begins by considering the concept of lifelong learning, its relationship to real-life learning and that lifelong learning should encompass the whole spectrum of formal, non-formal and informal learning. Most world governments had recognised the importance of support for lifelong learning. Borrowing ideas and techniques use by Livingstone in a large-scale 1998 survey of the informal learning activities of Canadian adults, the study reported in this article sought to uncover those aspects of information systems academics' lifelong learning that might lead policy setters to understand the sources of learning valued by these academics. It could be argued that in the past the university sector was a leader in promoting the lifelong learning of its academic staff, but recent changes in the university environment around the world have moved away from this ideal and academics interviewed from many countries all report rapidly decreasing resources available for academic support. In this environment it is important to determine which learning sources are valued by information systems academic so that informed decisions can be made on support priorities. In the study, thirty six interviews were conducted with fully qualified and tenured academics selected from Information Systems Schools in sixteen universities across eleven countries. In relation to their own on-going learning, after completion of their formal academic qualifications, the study found that academics "do not value formal" learning as much as they do "informal" learning. The most valued informal learning methods involve structured ways for academics to interact with other academics. These activities included conference attendance and use of the Internet as a portal to both static sources and interactions with other people. The study showed that many IS academics value academic conferences highly and think that their research and teaching benefit greatly by the currency of the ideas presented and the interactions that take place. This finding should be of interest to university policy makers who determine funding for informal learning activities such as attendance at academic conferences.
Informing Science Institute. 131 Brookhill Court, Santa Rosa, CA 95409. Tel: 707-537-2211; Fax: 480-247-5724; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada