Journal of Workplace Learning vol:25 issue:3 pages:178-197
Purpose: While continuous professional learning of high-qualified employees has received a lot of attention, research that focuses on low-qualified employees is limited. In this study the learning intention of low-qualified employees as a proximal determinant of their actual participation in learning activities is investigated.
Methodology: This study applied a mixed method approach. The quantitative part of the section applied a cross-sectional survey design. In total 673 low-qualified participants completed the questionnaire. Regression and ANOVA analyses were calculated to answer the research questions. For the qualitative part of this study, 14 low-qualified employees were interviewed. These interviews were transcribed and encoded by means of descriptive coding and open coding, and split up into different categories using Nvivo8 software.
Findings: The results confirm prior research and show that self-directedness in career processes and financial satisfaction are positively related to the learning intentions of low-qualified employees. The qualitative part of the research shows that low-qualified employees foremost relate learning to formal learning activities and that learning has a negative connotation for them due to prior negative experiences related to school learning.
Research limitations: The quantitative part of the research only considers formal learning, whereas the qualitative part of the research also allowed a discussion of informal learning experiences. Due to the negative connotation low-qualified employees attach to learning, it seemed that semi-structured interviews did not yield as much information as expected.
Originality: Besides investigating possible antecedents of low-qualified employees’ learning intentions, this research also explores what learning means for this group of employees who traditionally have an educational background filled with negative experiences.