Date of Graduation
Three child welfare workers were studied over the period of one month to investigate their transfer experiences with learning one aspect of their agency's information system. Internal reviews within the agency had determined that the information system was not being used effectively, so this investigation was conducted to construct a picture of how these workers learned to use the system and whether there were issues related to both training and transfer that contributed to the ineffective use of the system. Data on each case were collected before, during, and after training using interviews, pre/post tests, questionnaires, observation notes, and worker activity logs. Findings across cases revealed a disconnect between the formal training program and the worker's job experience. Workers were given little or no opportunity to practice learned skills back on the job and received only vague feedback both on their training experience and their work performance. Collegial and supervisory support, however, was available in all cases, as was the belief by both the worker and the supervisor that mastery would be achieved. Cases were unique in workers' beliefs in their ability and learning progress, supervisors' approaches to instructing new workers, relevance of training content to job assignment, engagement in the training event, and the value that was placed on ongoing professional development in the work place and on the FACTS system itself. Applications to the field suggest reassessment of training requirements for workers when instructional focus is not relevant to work assignment, supervisory instruction on how best to support new worker learning and reinforce formal training, and the exploration of organizational processes that more closely link formal training to the job. Additional research that would follow cases for a longer period of time to determine whether learning was retained or decayed and what factors may contribute to those outcomes would provide more insight into the concerns under study here.
Chase, Patricia Ann, "Learning to do the job: The transfer experiences of three child welfare workers." (2002). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8609.