One size doesn't fit all for learning technology skills

Jan 04, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Simply hitting the wrong computer key may be all it takes for some people to learn new technology skills, while others need intensive training.

Simply hitting the wrong computer key may be all it takes for some people to learn new technology skills, while others need intensive training.

Recent research from Deborah Compeau, Professor of Management Information Systems at the Richard Ivey School of Business, focuses on how people in organizations embrace and use technology.

For instance, a study involving employees at a large petrochemical company revealed a mix of learning styles. These include formal or traditional styles involving classroom and e-learning programs; informal, or unstructured and self-motivated styles, which is typically prompted by the need to complete a task or discover something new; and incidental, which often occurs by chance, such as hitting a wrong key.

The study was co-authored by Barb Marcolin, an Ivey Ph.D graduate, and Alain Ross, Assistant Professor of E-Commerce at Athabasca University.

The researchers grouped the learners into six categories:

1. “Purposive planners” - People who plan in advance with careful attention to detail;
2. “Explorers” - Those who learn on their own by delving into new areas;
3. “Visionaries” - People who think about what new technology could do for themselves and their organizations;
4. “Problem solvers” - Those with a task-oriented mindset who learn about technology merely to master workplace tasks;
5. “Reluctant learners” - who don’t see the value of technology and learn only what they need to survive at work;
6. “Pinballs” - Those who pick up a variety of knowledge often through incidental learning.

“Informal and incidental learning actually dominated … it goes against the traditional mindset that exists around IT,” says Compeau. “Managers need to better understand and foster the value of technology learning.”

Details of the research were released today in the January edition of impact, an online monthly publication featuring new research from faculty at the Richard Ivey School of Business. To read the full article, click here.

Explore further: A two generation lens: Current state policies fail to support families with young children

Provided by University of Western Ontario

4.5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Learning styles debunked

Dec 16, 2009

Are you a verbal learner or a visual learner? Chances are, you've pegged yourself or your children as either one or the other and rely on study techniques that suit your individual learning needs. And you're not alone— ...

Technology helps kids learn to communicate

Feb 20, 2006

Computers combining features from popular toys with innovative technology are helping improve the learning and communication skills of disabled children.

The New Science of Learning

Sep 11, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- According to recent studies, young children learn best through social interaction. Andrew Meltzoff and his colleagues at the University of Washington are studying an emerging field called the "Science of ...

Recommended for you

Scholar tracks the changing world of gay sexuality

22 hours ago

With same-sex marriage now legalized in 19 states and laws making it impossible to ban homosexuals from serving in the military, gay, lesbian and bisexual people are now enjoying more freedoms and rights than ever before.

User comments : 0