Supported work place learning: a knowledge transfer paradigm

Burns, G.R. and Paton, R.A. (2005) Supported work place learning: a knowledge transfer paradigm. Policy Futures in Education, 3(1), pp. 50-61. (doi:10.2304/pfie.2005.3.1.9)

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The importance of knowledge to the effective development of economic growth in the twenty-first century has led to a number of initiatives such as lifelong learning, skills development and knowledge transfer. Of these, knowledge transfer has predominantly been concerned with the commercial exploitation of research knowledge. This article suggests that such a narrow focus on research-led development is really only practical for larger organisations and misses many opportunities for knowledge transfer related to improving organisational knowledge and business effectiveness through supported workplace learning appropriate to small to medium-sized organisations. Two models of supported workplace learning, one involving a programme of study developed to reflect the strategic objectives of the organisation, and one developed to reflect business-led development, are described through case studies. Both illustrate the effectiveness of knowledge transfer that, although not research-led, had a significant impact on the competitive advantage of the respective organisations. In one case the students gained postgraduate awards, while in the other the students gained considerable business experience, again illustrating the flexibility that supported workplace learning can offer for individual development. Finally, the article concludes that effective knowledge transfer into the workplace may legitimately be structured around objectives that do not depend on research. In this mode, supported workplace learning offers an approach that is effective for the organisation and flexible in supporting individual development. It is also noted that one aspect of the process that became evident in both case studies was the need to manage the change process that injection of new knowledge created.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Paton, Professor Robert
Authors: Burns, G.R., and Paton, R.A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Policy Futures in Education
ISSN (Online):1478-2103

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