University of Oulu

Workplace learning in the field of Information Technology : IT professionals’ views and beliefs

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Author: Hietavirta, Dora1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Pages: 74
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : D. Hietavirta, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-06-03
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Näykki, Piia
Reviewer: Alanko, Anu
Näykki, Piia


The focus of this study is in the area of workplace learning. The changes ushered in by the recent technological and societal developments are disrupting the ways people look at and think about work and the workplaces. Furthermore, these changes demand that workers become adaptable lifelong learners. As a result, workplace learning has been an increasingly important area for research in several disciplines, including management, organisational development or adult learning. Learner’ conceptions of and beliefs about learning have been explored within the formal education sector but not so extensively within the context of work, even though beliefs about learning are associated with chosen learning approaches and learning behaviour. Modern knowledge workers, such as people working in the IT industry, need to constantly learn, partly because of the rapid development of the technological solutions, and partly because of the changes affecting the way work is organized, being more collaborative and multidisciplinary. For these reasons, it is important to develop an understanding of how professionals in IT view learning and workplace learning and what factors influence their learning at work.

For conducting this study, a phenomenographical approach was adopted. Data was collected at the end of 2018, through semi-structured individual interviews with ten experienced professionals who were working in the IT field in varying roles and positions at the time, such as software architect, agile coach, or CEO. Interviews were analysed using data-driven qualitative content analysis method to identify IT professionals’ views and beliefs of workplace learning. The results from the study show, that learning is mostly seen as continuous personal or professional development, as well as a process that leads to increased self-awareness. Learning is also acknowledged as a ubiquitous part of IT work, that is both an individual and a social process. Factors impacting the learning of IT professionals at work were found to equally represent individual and contextual variables. Based on the findings, it is recommended that learning or development professionals in work organisations consider those variables simultaneously in order to enable high quality learning at the workplace.

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Copyright information: © Dora Hietavirta, 2019. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.