Context dependent learning: its value and impact for workplace education

LYNCH, R., LEO, S. and DOWNING, K. (2006). Context dependent learning: its value and impact for workplace education. Education and training, 48 (1), 15-24.


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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe how a management development programme based on situated learning theory resulted in change for individuals, organisational culture and performance. The case study illustrates how new understandings about learning in the workplace and in higher education points towards the need to take account of the context in which learners utilise their knowledge and skills. Design/methodology/approach – Quantitative and qualitative strategies were used to provide an evaluation of the impact of a management development programme in a group of companies. A questionnaire, focus groups and semi-structured interviews were used to collect data on three cohorts of supervisors and middle managers at different stages of the programme. A triangulated approach was adopted towards data analysis that illuminated a broad and deep change process. Findings – Positive cultural change was a significant benefit to the host organisation from the training programme. It was apparent that training can move beyond individual development to bring about organisational gains. Research limitations/implications – Future research might adopt a longitudinal design and facilitate a co-researcher approach using students’ learning logs of workplace experiences. Practical implications – Situated approaches to learning in higher education and the workplace need to be developed further to enhance workplace performance. A proposal is made for “learning consultants” to move between the two environments and facilitate knowledge exchange and improve understanding of the variety of learning contexts in business and educational settings.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published in Education and training, 48(1), 2006 at
Uncontrolled Keywords: workplace learning, organisational culture, performance levels, educational policy
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Hallam Centre for Community Justice
Identification Number:
Page Range: 15-24
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2008
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 14:17

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