Enabling Learning on Demand in Semantic Work Environments: The Learning in Process Approach

Enabling Learning on Demand in Semantic Work Environments: The Learning in Process Approach

Andreas Schmidt (FZI Research Center for Information Technologies, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-877-2.ch012
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The new flexibility of workers and work environments makes traditional conceptions of training in advance, in rather large units and separate from work activities, more and more obsolete. It is not only the problem of inert knowledge (i.e., knowledge that can be reproduced, but not applied; Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1985), but also the degree of individualization of learning paths these traditional methods cannot cope with. What we actually need is learning on demand, embedded into work processes, responding to both requirements from the work situation and from employee interests, a form of learning crossing boundaries of e-learning, knowledge management, and performance support (Schmidt, 2005). Many see self-steered learning as the salvation for that new paradigm (in contrast to course-steered learning activities), but this ignores the fact that guidance is essential—both for the learner (reducing the cognitive load) and for the company (enabling the manageability of learning processes). As a consequence, we have elaborated a concept in between: context-steered learning in which learners get contextualized recommendations of learning opportunities. Implementing such a method requires a semantic work environment infrastructure that allows computer systems for getting hold of work situations and the learning needs arising out of them. Especially crucial is a semantic model of human resource development in such a setting just at the right level of complexity (not simplifying too much, but still manageable), a set of services and a user context management component for capturing and maintaining the information about what the user is currently doing and what’s her state.

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