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ERIC Number: EJ864384
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 21
ISSN: ISSN-0040-0912
The Effectiveness of Workshops as Managerial Learning Opportunities
Billington, Leo; Neeson, Robyn; Barrett, Rowena
Education & Training, v51 n8-9 p733-746 2009
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the effectiveness of workshops as a learning tool for small business owner-managers (SBO-Ms). It aims to concentrate on workshops delivered over 18 months from January 2007 to July 2008 as part of several publicly-funded small business development programmes in two Australian local government areas (LGAs). Design/methodology/approach: Effectiveness is measured in terms of meeting the overarching learning needs and expectations of participants in the context of the programme goals. The paper analyses data gathered from workshop participants either post-workshop, in later focus groups or through a questionnaire as well as additional feedback from participants and the organizers' reflections. The thematic analysis is organized through an analogy of "going shopping", where the SBO-M shopper is buying "learning" when they attend a workshop. Findings: Understanding motivation to participate or the "what's in it for me" is important as SBO-Ms tend to be reluctant, resist or fail to engage with externally sponsored business support initiatives. Workshops were valued for the "space" they create to reflect on practice. For many SBO-Ms, content "comes alive" with discussion while networking helps reduce the isolation SBO-Ms can feel. Practical implications: The shopping analogy suggests workshops must cater for purposeful shoppers as well as browsers, while interaction with others in the workshop is critical to realizing the value of workshops. Originality/value: Knowing whether, and how, workshops deliver learning can help to better target and refine these types of support initiatives to ensure they provide positive outcomes for individuals, organizations and economies. (Contains 6 tables.)
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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