Thursday, April 06, 2006

Work based learning and Knowledge Management

Work based learning has been at the front of my mind of late, having celebrated the potential for development of HE in FE within this context articulated in the FE White Paper 2006. Reading an exerpt from Understandings of workplace learning (Boud & Garrick, 1999) made me realise just how far we have come in terms of acknowledgement that work place learning can be linked with academic credit and yet how far away we are from realising the image, presented by the authors, of an era where organisations uniformly realise the benefits of learning as a fundamental component of working.

The White Paper underlines the economic drive behind the development of an era of workplace and workbased learning activity, with its aims to increase skills in both vocational specialism and underpinning basic and generic transferable skills (as we referred to them back in the 1990s); Boud and Garrick provide the background of the earlier OECD reforms and an awareness of the way in which policy was, is and will continue to be driving the initiative.

And what of the employer perspective? The case studies which are available are (inevitably?) those of large organisations and while these are of considerable interest, the preponderance of SMEs (small to medium enterprises) within the East of England leaves me with concern that these organisations (often with circa 4 employees) may feel that they do not have the opportunity to become learning organisations; that the 'now' element has to come before that of future planning and that globalisation impacts on someone else.

Perhaps this is an area for research? Does anyone have any useful links?


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