Idea and purpose
Work-integrated learning stands for the idea of anchoring everyday learning as a fundamental principle in corporate culture. The aim is to close the gap between acquisition in courses and the application of knowledge in daily work and thus to create practical knowledge and skills for action in everyday work. Therefore, a learning culture within the company is promoted, which enables and supports (partly time-consuming) examination of new ideas in the context of daily work. This can be assisted by workshops and learning content.
Work-integrated learning approaches can be used with work activities that are not directly time-critical but recur regularly. This requires leeway for involved participants: Both the ability to try out new approaches, the necessary time resources to deal with the learning topics and the option of eventually changing existing routines within the organization must be guaranteed. In order to establish this form of learning, the existing incentive structures in the organisation must support the completion of the work: A role model function of managers and support services can promote this.
Work-integrated learning approaches can be used with members of the organizations or even subunits. However, the involvement of external partners is possible: They can support and moderate the learning process and contribute their expertise.
Temporal and spatial structure
In this approach, learning takes place in daily work routines. New approaches and possibilities are tested. Regular reflection phases in small teams can support the learning process.
In order to establish work-integrated learning approaches, the involved participants need to be supported to try out new ways of conducting their daily work. Therefore time resources need to be reserved to enable the employees to learn at the workplace. The coordination of learning projects between the employees and managers facilitates mutual support and shared goals. It is possible to use further resources such as seminars, external support or specific knowledge in order to support the reflexion of the newly acquired knowledge.
A service company decides to introduce and use a new tool for knowledge management. Reflecting on the fact that seminars and presentations on the potential of a new tool cannot prevent practical problems while using the tool at the work place, the company decides to aim for a work-integrated learning approach.
Therefore, managers and employees meet in small groups to define their learning goals and try out new ways of working with the tool at the workplace. In monthly study-groups they reflect on their process and thereby ensure that the practical learning projects comply to the aims of the organization.