Are positive learning experiences levers for lifelong learning among low educated workers?

Publication Date07 December 2015
Date07 December 2015
AuthorJos M.A.F. Sanders,Marc A.W. Damen,Karen Van Dam
SubjectHR & organizational behaviour,Global HRM
Are positive learning experiences
levers for lifelong learning
among low educated workers?
Jos M.A.F. Sanders
Sustainable Productivity and Employability, TNO, Leiden, The Netherlands
Marc A.W. Damen
Faculty of Behaviour, Health and Society, HAN University of Applied Science,
Nijmegen, The Netherlands, and
Karen Van Dam
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences,
Open University of the Netherlands, Heerlen, The Netherlands
Purpose Based on the theory of planned behaviour and social learning theory, the purpose of
this paper is to investigate the effect of training participation and learning experience on the beliefs of
low-educated employees about their self-efficacy for learning.
Design/methodology/approach Low-educated workers of three different organizations
(n¼359) filled out a questionnaire at three different points in time, with a half-yearly interval.
Regression analyses were used to establish the effects of training participation and learning experience
on learning self-efficacy.
Findings Training participation alone did not affect low-educated workerslearning self-efficacy,
but a positive learning experience did contribute to workerspost-training learning self-efficacy. These
results support the relevance of positive learning experiences.
Research limitations/implications Follow-up studies could focus on the effects of learning
self-efficacyfor subsequent learningactivities, establish whichaspects of training contribute to a positive
learning experience, and include contextual characteristics thatmay predict learning self-efficacy.
Practical implications To stimulate learning among lower educated workers, it is necessary that
they have confidence in their ability to successfully complete their training. Trainers and training
developers working for this specific target group of lower educated workers should aim to provide
training that is a positive experience, besides being a learning exercise.
Originality/value The study is the first to analyse the longitudinal effects of training participation
and learning experience on post-training learning self-efficacy among low-educated workers.
Keywords Theory of planned behaviour, Social learning theory, Self-efficacy,
Human resource development, Learning experience, Low-educated workers, Training participation
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
In our contemporary society, knowledge is becoming more and more important.
With increasing globalization and technological development, the need to maintain and
update knowledge is constantly growing (European Union, 2010; Kyndt and Baert,
2013). In order to keep a competitive position on the world market, it is of great
importance for countries and businesses alike that employees continue to educate
themselves (Doets et al., 2008; Kyndt and Baert, 2013). The importance of education is
furthermore emphasized by the ageing population within industrialized countries
(Sanders et al., 2011). In the future, it will be more difficult for employers to hire younger
workers. As a result, employers will have to continuously educate their employee s and
Evidence-based HRM: a Global
Forum for Empirical Scholarship
Vol. 3 No. 3, 2015
pp. 244-257
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/EBHRM-01-2014-0002
Received 21 January 2014
Revised 3 June 2014
Accepted 7 August 2014
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