What is learned through work? A typology of professional learning in the workplace

Margaryan, Anoush; Milligan, Colin and Littlejohn, Allison (2012). What is learned through work? A typology of professional learning in the workplace. In: Book of Abstracts of the 6th EARLI SIG 14 Learning and Professional Development Conference ‘Learning in Transition’ (Gijbels, D; Donche, V; Van Den Bossche, P; Stets, A; Van Waes, S and Aerts, A eds.), p. 130.


This paper outlines a typology of what professionals learn through everyday work –what knowledge, skills, and dispositions. Of particular interest are similarities and differences in the learning patterns of novice, experienced and midcareer professionals. Grounded in an exploratory, qualitative study within an energy sector company and informed by existing frameworks, the typology incorporates five categories and 19 sub-categories of knowledge, skills and dispositions that professional were found to develop through work. The study contributes to the theory of workplace learning by improving the current understanding of what professionals learn through work. The findings contribute to the practice of workplace learning in organisations by highlighting the learning potential of everyday workplace; recognising this potential could enable organisations to provide more effective learning and development opportunities for employees.

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