The effectiveness with which people learn in modem organizations is increasingly emphasized in today's information and knowledge driven economy. The effectiveness of learning and the increase of expertise in a rapidly and dramatically changing economic, political and social environment is regarded as being extremely important for the success and survival of organizations. The way an individual views the process of learning influences the learner's approach to a learning opportunity and the effectiveness of the learning process concerned. An individual's awareness of his/her own learning approach and opportunities for critical and realistic reflection on his/her own behaviour is important for the development of effective learning. Opportunities for critical and realistic reflection on his/her own learning behaviour promotes a learner's ability to handle new and complex situations. The need for a reliable and valid measure for learning approaches as a means to facilitate critical and realistic reflection by a learner must be emphasized in this regard. Related to this is the need for a systems model which promotes a holistic approach to the interpretation of learning approaches and the facilitation of effective learning within organizations. The primary aim of the study was to develop a questionnaire with acceptable psychometric properties which could be used to determine the learning approaches of adults. The secondary aim of the study was to develop a systems model which indicates the relationship between learning approaches, macro- and micro-learning environment factors, personal factors and learning outcomes for organizations. A literature analysis was undertaken to develop a systems model (secondary aim) which could serve as a theoretical framework for the development of a learning approaches questionnaire. Different approaches as described in existing literature were identified, delimited and defined. The factors which influence individuals' learning approaches were investigated. A systems model of learning was developed on the basis of the literature study. This model is used to indicate the relations between learning approaches, learning environment factors, personal factors and learning outcomes. A clear and identifiable input component, a process component and an outcomes component which are interdependent and interact with one another, were identified on the basis of the literature. The study concluded that a systems model of learning provides a useful holistic framework to assist the understanding, interpretation and influencing of learning approaches and the factors which influence learning approaches. The empirical part of the study focuses on the development of a learning approaches questionnaire for adults. The learning approaches questionnaire (LAQ) which was developed consists of two sections, a learning approaches in terms of the learning content section (LAQc) and a learning approaches in terms of social orientation section (LAQs). The LAQc section consists of a deep, surface and achievement learning motive dimension and a related deep, surface and achievement strategy dimension, as well as a self-efficacy and fear-of-failure dimension. The LAQs consists of a dependent, independent, co-operative and competitive learning approach dimension. The research results demonstrated that the LAQ displays content, factor and construct validity. The factor structures of the LAQ are stable for business and tertiary learning contexts. The research results also showed that the LAQ is a reliable and unbiased measure for various language groups. The results of the empirical investigation strongly supported the systems model of learning. The grouping of learning approaches according to particular views of what learning encompasses, the mutual relations between learning approaches, as well as the situational nature of learning approaches as depicted in the systems model, were confirmed. By using the systems model of learning, the LAQ can make an important contribution to the facilitation of effective learning in organizations.
Thesis (D Com (Human Resources Management))--University of Pretoria, 2007.