Title: All by myself. Research into employees' informal learning experiences

Authors: Marcel Van Der Klink; Jo Boon; Kathleen Schlusmans

Addresses: Open University of the Netherlands, Heerlen, PO Box 2960, 6401 DL Heerlen, The Netherlands. ' Open University of the Netherlands, Heerlen, PO Box 2960, 6401 DL Heerlen, The Netherlands. ' Open University of the Netherlands, Heerlen, PO Box 2960, 6401 DL Heerlen, The Netherlands

Abstract: Informal learning is seen as an important phenomenon in the contemporary era of lifelong learning. This study examined informal learning activities and its outcomes as well as the factors that influenced, either positively or negatively, informal learning. In total 24 employees of the Dutch Open University were interviewed about their main informal learning experiences over the last two years. Findings revealed that the majority of the informal learning outcomes are skill-based, generic and applicable in a larger cluster of jobs than participants| present jobs. Participants favoured learning activities that allow high levels of internal locus of control. The main stimulus for informal learning lies in the changing demands of their daily job. Other organisational, job and employee characteristics, such as age, job tenure, attitude of supervisor and colleagues, hardly influenced participants| informal learning. The article concludes with some critical remarks on the value of informal learning from the perspective of lifelong learning.

Keywords: informal learning; learning transfer; lifelong learning; Open University of the Netherlands; Holland; higher education; universities; learning experiences; learning outcomes; skill-based learning; generic learning; jobs; internal control; locus of control; job demands; organisational characteristics; job characteristics; employee characteristics; age; job tenure; supervisor attitudes; colleague attitudes; human resource development; HRD; human resource management; HRM; workplace learning.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHRDM.2012.044201

International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 2012 Vol.12 No.1/2, pp.77 - 91

Published online: 08 Dec 2011 *

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