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A case study of exploring informal learning and its perceived impact on professional development at an Irish software company

Valko-Juhasz, Ingrid (2022) A case study of exploring informal learning and its perceived impact on professional development at an Irish software company. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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This research examined informal learning online and its perceived impact on employees’ professional development at an Irish software company. With the COVID-19 pandemic, a new era of remote working has started which has overridden common working and learning practices at the workplace. This has resulted in changing formal and also informal learning practices, which change has its significance since most learning at workplace occurs informally, on-the-job (Dale & Bell, 1999). This study explores how informal learning is carried out in a remote world, what employees understand by informal learning and how it affects their professional development, and what is their perception about supporting informal learning at the company. The study is framed by adult learning theory (Merriam, 2008), as well as the concept of workplace learning and self-directed learning. This is an interpretivist, multi-method case study, and used semi-structured interviews and company documents, policies and other artefacts to gain insight about informal learning at the workplace. Data was collected through six semi-structured interviews, followed by thematic analysis. Interview transcripts and company documents were analysed by using Braun and Clarke’s thematic analysis. Four themes have been identified altogether, that are understanding informal learning, professional learning in a remote environment, impact of informal learning on professional development, and perceptions about promoting informal learning in the organisation. This study confirms that employees see informal learning as a concept for unstructured learning events that occur on-the-job and is often facilitated by peers or initiated by the learners themselves in the form of self-directed learning. Research shows that informal learning activities at the company usually occur in the forms of job shadowing or learning from more experienced peers and self-directed learning, which was fostered by this significant shift of working remotely. Findings showed that informal learning is critical in a business setting, that leads to better performance and career development. Interview participants also agreed that while informal learning is expected in some cases, the effort that is put into informal learning is not recognised by management.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects / Types of education > E-Learning
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > Human Resource Management > Training and Development
Divisions: Centre for Education and Lifelong Learning > Master of Arts in Educational Practice
Depositing User: Clara Chan
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2022 11:22
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2022 11:22

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