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El aprendizaje informal en comunidades de práctica virtuales en la Administración pública: evaluación y acreditación

TitleEl aprendizaje informal en comunidades de práctica virtuales en la Administración pública: evaluación y acreditación
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsFernández-de-Álava, M
AdvisorGairín, J, Marsick, VJ
Date Published11/2014
Thesis TypeThesis

In recent decades, with the aim of answering the demands of a society in rapid evolution, it has become necessary to consider other ways to access knowledge, besides the traditional ones linked to official and formal classroom training. In this regard, many organizations have focused their interest on detecting how their members learn informally on the job thanks to the close connection between activities performed in the workplace and learning.

It is important to identify both these mechanisms and the new knowledge acquired in order to facilitate planning and implementation of strategies to capture, transform, share and spread knowledge at work (Marsick & Watkins, 1999; Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995). From this perspective, the formation of communities of practice from groups of people who share common interests, problems or challenges has been found productive in promoting their sharing of knowledge, skills and experiences —supporting better and faster learning as a result of this exchange.

This research is situated in this field, within the Spanish context, and specifically in the Catalan Public Administration, there are some conditions or experiences where professionals can work, collaboratively—creating positive outcomes in the individual, group and organizational spheres (Cross, 2007; Wenger, 1998). Such practices are developed in the Department of Justice and in in the Catalan Public Health Agency.

The specified main objetives are 4: (1) to determine if an organizational environment is appropiate to support learning processes and personal and professional development processes; (2) to conceptualize informal learning and to understand when it is produced in practice; (3) to explore reasons for participating in online communities of practice and their elements that affect informal learning; and (4) to propose a system for the accreditation of informal learning.

Research was conducted by means of a self-applied questionnaire (previous content validity through examination by 16 theoretical and practical judges) administered to participants and moderators (n=81) of 8 vCoPs from the abovementioned two department and an interview (n=27). The third instrument for data collection was documentation. Basic descriptive measures; correlation between variables; reliability and internal consistency reliability; reliability and internal consistency reliability; validity of measures; construct validity; parameter estimation; factor analysis, and factorial analysis of variance are the main analytical tests undertaken to examine findings from data collection.

The outcomes allow us to make progresses on the objectives proposed. Subsequently, we specify the main limitations of this research and we propose new lines of research.

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