Når teknologi og nye færdigheder møder praksis

Student thesis: Master programme thesis

  • Karen Tambo Christiansen
4. term, Master of Learning Processes (Continuing education) (Continuing Education Programme (Master))
English summary

Organizations and companies spend large sums of money on employee training but subsequently only benefit little by the new knowledge and skills. This challenge is the starting point for this master thesis. The empiricism of the study is a regional media house, where the editorial staff was trained in using HTC Smartphones as a tool in their journalistic work.
The main question is: Which factors determine whether employees apply the knowledge and skills gained through training in their jobs and what can help support them develop their skills in practice? The purpose of this paper is to generate knowledge of how different employee segments can be motivated to use new technology in their jobs and how individual learning interacts with organizational development.
The primary theories of this study are transfer research and situated learning theory. Transfer research deals with how acquired knowledge, experience and skills are transferred to new situations. It deals with the factors which directly or indirectly affect the conditions of transfer. The study uses Baldwin and Ford’s model of the transfer process as an analytical framework. The model indicates that different factors affect the possibility of transfer – including trainee characteristics, training design and work environment. The theoretic basis of learning is John Dewey's pragmatic understanding of learning and Etienne Wenger's concept of community of practice. The situ prepared perspective allows the studying of how individual learning affects the development of the practice community.
The survey method is a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods. First a questionnaire is used to identify interviewees with respectively intensive and limited use of the HTC smartphone for their work. Then six semi structured interviews are conducted with trainees/journalists.
The study shows that the technology-minded and technologically uninvolved learn differently when it comes to new technology. It turned out that the technologically uninvolved employees' use of technology is utility driven; they need to experience that the benefits exceed the effort they make in learning. In contrast, the technology-minded are intrinsically motivated; they have a playful approach to the cell phone and consider learning a value in itself. The study supports other transfer studies when it comes to training design. Practice-teaching including exercises in using new knowledge promotes positive transfer. Similarly, course contents reflecting the work will further transfer.
The study shows that internal training where all employees attend the same training course will increase positive transfer. In line with other transfer studies, rapid testing of new skills after the training course is shown to help remember new knowledge and skills. Recognition from management promotes in general positive transfer for both employee groups.
My empirical data and analysis show that the correlation between managerial strategy and management practices are essential for learning. Lack of correlation between strategy and practice discourages and frustrates employees – both the technology-minded and the technologically uninvolved.
The study uncovers a link between individual learning and organizational development. From an organizational perspective, Fynske Medier has initiated a process where HTC smartphones are used as a journalistic tool. Initially, the technology-minded employees have achieved the desired benefits as they consider themselves more effective and flexible due to their using the cell phone. However, the study also reveals a need of creating a climate for change by establishing a sense of urgency and creating a guiding coalition across all management layers.
Publication date4 Jan 2012
Number of pages60
ID: 58555998