Thriving at Work (Integrated Learning): An investigation into adult learners’ experiences of vitality and learning when successfully engaging with work integrated learning
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AbstractHigher Education (HE) has a key role in re-educating an aging UK workforce through part-time programmes aimed at older (30+) working adults. However, since 2010 HE enrolments have plummeted further compounded by high attrition rates. As such, there is an urgent need for HE to research this important but overlooked student category in order to attract and support them. As a HE lecturer in work integrated learning, the researcher has a vested interest in addressing this gap as well as contributing to the thriving at work literature. Taking a social constructivist stance, narrative inquiry has been applied to explore eleven adult work integrated learners’ experiences of thriving to gain a deeper understanding of what positively influences their vitality and learning and how HE can facilitate them. Her findings show learners’ vitality towards work integrated learning mirror their vitality towards work. The opportunity to shape and share learning helps elevate and maintain vitality levels as well as deepen the learning experience so enabling them to thrive. Further, attitudes are not only influenced by the current context but also experiences and events from childhood. However, although HE tutors can positively influence learners’ experience of work integrated learning, most of HE appears to have little impact. As well as exploring thriving in the context of work integrated learning, this study contributes to the thriving at work literature by providing insights which suggest vitality exhibits state-like and trait-like qualities. When vitality combines with work integrated learning, it creates a virtuous circle where one construct builds on the other to enable the learner to thrive. This is further enhanced by learners’ shaping and sharing their learning experience with others. However, learners’ ability to engage with HE successfully in the present is also influenced by their experiences from the past and can impact on their needs and expectations. To attract and retain this important learner category, HE must understand and respond to learners’ needs and expectations not just via interactions with specific tutors but through the HE systems and processes laid down to support them.
CitationWeston, P. J. W. (2021). Thriving at work (Integrated Learning): An investigation into adult learners’ experiences of vitality and learning when successfully engaging with work integrated learning [Unpublished doctoral thesis]. University of Chester.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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