Transgressing the Formal and Informal Learning Boundaries
Authors: Paula Angus
In 2003, workers at the Winnipeg plant of Boeing Canada Technology asked for the opportunity to earn their high school diploma through courses offered in the workplace. Subsequently, the Boeing Mature Student Diploma program was developed. In this case study, the author explores the learning journey of workers participating in this program. Data collection was achieved through interviews and journal keeping of three workplace learners, two workplace instructor interviews, and by administering the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory survey to an additional 16 workers, from which a random sampling of responses was used. The author has divided her discussion into the following categories:
(1) Initial Worker Decisions and Motivators
(2) Changes that Occurred During the Program
(3) A Springboard to Recent Informal Learning
(4) Looking Ahead Down the Learning Path.
Authors: Julie Salembier
A warehouse located in Edmonton, Alberta and belonging to Uni-Select, a leading distributor of auto parts in North America, is the site of the workplace program for this research project. Uni-Select offered an essential skills training program to several company employees after determining that these employees would benefit from upgrading their skills before using a new warehouse management system. For this case study, the author interviewed both learners and workplace instructors in several Uni-Select locations and uncovered several themes about the workers’ route to learning. In her study, she discusses the following key ideas: learning catalysts, key dynamics around participation, workers’ expectations of informal learning, the actual learning process, benefits of formal and informal training and personal learning power.
Authors: Margan Dawson
This case study examines the connection between formal and informal job-related learning through the experiences of workers in a manufacturing setting. It intends to demonstrate how learning transfer for both formal and informal learning contributes to continuous improvement in an organization. This study took place in Nova Scotia at Elmsdale Lumber Co. Ltd. (ELCO), a fourth generation family-owned lumber production facility with 56 employees. It involved four workers from different divisions of the company as well as workplace instructors.
Authors: Deirdre Kazi
This case study involves nine employees at a High Liner Foods frozen seafood processing plant in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, who participated in an advanced communication program offered at the workplace. The data for this study comes from these workers as well as adult education instructors who shared their thoughts, experiences and observations about learning. In her study, the author examines the interplay between informal and formal training and the association between organizational support for learning and employee participation in both formal and informal workplace learning. She also discusses workers' decisions to participate in training, the benefits of training, informal learning behaviours and attitudes towards lifelong learning.
Authors: Sara Gill
This case study focuses on employees of the Dofasco steel plant located in Hamilton, Ontario. Dofasco has created and fostered a learning culture by providing some of the most progressive training programs in the industry, such as the Dofasco Essential Skills Program, which offers learning opportunities for employees in the areas of reading, writing, computers, and other essential skills. Participants in this study were selected because of their commitment to continuous learning offered through the formal training courses of the Essential Skills Program. All of these same participants also learned informally at the workplace through various methods. In this study, the author examines the strong link between the formal training these employees received at work and their commitment to lifelong learning outside of the classroom.
Authors: Valerie Unwin
This case study looks at the workplace learning programs available at Palliser Furniture Ltd, the largest furniture manufacturer in Canada, with over 1200 workers worldwide. For this study, the author focuses on programs the company offers in basic computer skills, manufacturing and leadership, and high school upgrading in English and math. Both learners and instructors were interviewed regarding their experiences, and the data collected helped the author identify the formal and informal learning paths of the workers. This study has been broken down into the following sections:
- the learning trend at Palliser
- factors related to training and learning
- learning triggers
- making decisions about workplace learning
- recognizing the training path
- opportunities for learning and engagement in the company
- types of learning
- synergy between formal and informal learning
Authors: Martin Kennedy
Because of increased competition, diminishing fish stocks, and a rising Canadian dollar, many fish plants in Atlantic Canada have had to down-size or even close completely in recent years, laying-off hundreds of workers. This case study focuses on employees of the Clearwater Fish Plant in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, who, having been laid-off from their jobs, enrolled in an essential skills enhancement training program in an effort to secure alternate work. In this case study, the author describes the learning paths of these workers, discusses what triggers prompted their engagement in both formal and informal learning strategies, and examines their decision-making processes and actual engagement in such training. The study begins with a short description of the formal training program, which was the catalyst for the learning path of these fish plant workers.
An Inventory of Innovative, Effective or Promising Canadian School-to-Work Transition Practices, Programs and Policies
This is a report on research done by the Work and Learning Knowledge Centre (WLKC) on current Canadian practices, programs and polices aimed at improving school-to-work transitions for school-leavers. Data for this project was gathered through a survey of the WLKC Transitions and Access Working Groups and supplemented by a Canadian literature review. Researchers compiled an inventory of 44 entries that consists of school-to-work measures for school-leavers (including youth at-risk) and for those graduating from high school or post-secondary education. All of the initiatives were reviewed and categorized as promising, effective or innovative. The authors have also identified potential target audiences for the inventory and suggested knowledge exchange activities. This report includes a comprehensive executive summary.
Authors: Margaret Herrington
Research by literacy practitioners within their own practice (RIP) has produced major gains at the individual, community, institutional and field levels. Though these gains are clear, some professional researchers and practitioners do not always take RIP seriously. In this paper, the author discusses the value of a longitudinal approach to RIP- for the day-to-day building of research within practice, in varying contexts, throughout an educator's professional life. She argues that in addition to the known gains from specific pieces of RIP, a long-term stance produces an enhanced impact on research confidence, in terms of methodology and interpretive depth, and on professional development. She draws upon evidence from her own history as a practitioner researcher to provide an example of such a model.
CPRN Research Report
Canadian Policy Research Networks began the Pathways project in an attempt to shed more light on the paths young people take through school to the labour market and on the institutional and policy arrangements and values that support or hinder successful pathways. Through this project they hope to develop policy options that would improve young people's ability to identify, select and navigate pathways that lead to rewarding and productive lives. This is the eighth study that has been published in the series.
This particular paper focuses on "demand-side" issues in the youth labour market, how employer demand is conveyed to students and those who support them, and how well the skills that young people gain are utilized on the job.This report is based on a literature review, analyses of survey data and key informant interviews. It includes an executive summary, introduction, methodology section, listing of key websites and the following main chapters:
- The Use and Limitations of Occupational Projections
- Skill Utilization and Skill Development in the Workplace
- The Role of Employers in the School-to-Work Transition
- Policy Implications and Research Gaps