Workplace Learning: Understanding financial sector institutions as learning environments
Ndlebe, Pamella Panphilla
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The objective of the research is to understand the learning affordances offered at Insure Company, a large financial sector institution in South Africa and to explore how employees exercise their agency in responding to these opportunities for learning. The study draws on the concept of co-participation (Billett, 2004: 03) to explore how learning at work is shaped through learning affordances in the workplace on the one hand and engagement with these learning affordances on the other. Drawing on data gathered through interviews and analysis of company policies, this case study discusses how employees learn to perform their roles competently, how they access guidance and support from peers and more experienced colleagues and how they respond to these opportunities for learning. It also discusses the factors which enable or constrain their learning and agency. The research confirms that negative perceptions of workplace learning - as informal, unplanned, unstructured, limited to particular contexts and not transferable - are inaccurate. It supports the argument that there should be a clear understanding about how learning proceeds in workplaces and how best that learning should be organised. It is hoped that this case study makes a useful contribution towards developing such an understanding.
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