Once present in a formal training milieu, learners found that visual learning was their preferred style for understanding content. For two of the three learners, a close connection with the instructor and small group class members increased their comfort level and ability to grasp material presented. Working independently in the classroom was not considered ideal for these learners, possibly due to a link between their former lack of academic success and a detachment from teachers and peers. The third participant preferred guidance to a point, then chose to work autonomously until further clarification of the assignment was necessary. In this case, past formal learning had yielded success; this is a contributing factor to his preferred learning methods.
Workplace instructors believed that learner success was dependent on a combination of factors, including support at home and within the company, through co-workers and supervisors and a connection between course content and work application. However, factors that were considered fundamental to success were attitude, commitment, and a desire to learn.
As formal classroom learning proceeded, learners reported that initial feelings of reservation
regarding their involvement in the program shifted to acceptance, then enjoyment in the challenge of learning, and ultimately to pride in their accomplishments. Company support along with manager interest and encouragement added to the positive learning experience. One participant reported her manager’s support and respect in this way,
“… he said, ‘Good for you’, and helped me out with a few math and computer questions.”
This same learner found that the value in her formal course work was transgressing the boundary of classroom application. Learning how to access information in the formal program made her a
“better member of the team” back on the shop floor, as she found herself
“better at asking, and knowing where to look” for information. At this point along this learner’s path we see a positive relationship forming between the formal and informal learning. In other words, there is a crossover from the classroom to the informal workplace setting and the use of informal learning opportunities.