English title dissertation On-the-Job Learning Styles: Conceptualization and Instrument Development for the Nursing Profession
Name PhD (surname first) Berings Marjolein
Date of promotion 04/10/2006
University Tilburg University
Promotores P.R.J. Simons and R.F. Poell
Linkedin-account linkedin.com
Researchgate-url researchgate.net
Abstract (English)

The purpose of this PhD research was to develop a better understanding of individual on-the-job learning processes in general and particularly for the nursing profession. We aimed to develop and validate an instrument to measure nurses’ on-the-job learning styles in such a way that the instrument (1) contributes to scientific knowledge on nurses’ on-the-job learning and (2) offers opportunities for nurses to improve their on-the-job learning in practice.

On-the-job learning style is defined as the tendency to use a particular combination of implicit and explicit learning activities that a person can and likes to perform on the job. The person adapts the combination of learning activities to each situation differently. This particular combination is called the actualized learning strategy. On-the-job learning styles should be operationalized to include both mental and overt learning styles and both interpersonal and intrapersonal learning styles.

For the development of our questionnaire, taking the practical goals into account, the scales of the questionnaire should contain items that:
a. concern learning activities, indicating actual learning behaviour that can be actively directed by learners
b. include a social learning dimension
c. cover different learning situations.
Further, the questionnaire should be valid and reliable and use alternatives for the word ‘learning’ where possible.
Based on these criteria and the empirical findings in interview studies we developed and validated a questionnaire: the On-the-job Learning Styles Questionnaire for the Nursing profession (OLSQN). This questionnaire is described in chapter seven and consists of seven items measuring seven different learning activities for six different learning contents on a 6-point scale, therefore 42 items in total. The scales of the questionnaire represent five on-the-job learning activities separately: work experience, adding something new to one’s job, searching for information, visiting information meetings or receiving coaching, and reflecting by oneself. Five other factors represent learning by talking with colleagues about five learning contents: technical nursing skills, putting things in perspective, organizing patient care, finding information, and taking initiatives.

With this study, we gained insight into nurses’ on-the-job learning content and activity and their on-the-job learning styles that can be used by researchers to investigate the implications of nurses’ on-the-job learning for several other output variables. Further, it can be used by supervisors, HR professionals and continuing nursing educators or developers, as well as nurses themselves, to implement well suited intervention strategies, tailored to the individual nursing professional.

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