Module 1: planning for learning at work: learner's workbook

3.2 Identifying work-based learning strategies

Page last updated: 2004

We'll begin by exploring the range of learning strategies available to us.

Task - writing exercise

  • Research the range of the strategies that can assist you in your ongoing professional development, both on and off the job, (e.g. supervision, seminars, computer-based learning, co-working). You may wish to talk to other work colleagues, learning peers or anyone who you think may be useful!)
  • Record your strategies using a copy of the mind map below. You'll build on this map as you work through this topic.

Mind map: Workplace learning strategies

Text equivalent below for Mind map: Workplace learning strategies
Large image of mind map (GIF 29KB) Top of page

Text version of Mind map

The mind map has a central circle containing the words "my professional development". The central circle relates to eleven circles surrounding it, in which the you can write in your strategies. Three of the eleven circles contain the following strategies (to serve as examples):
  • Staff appraisal process
  • Collaboration with colleagues
  • Team building activities.

Possible answers

You have probably identified a number of possible learning strategies. There is certainly a wide range of ways that we can learn. Sometimes, the simple and immediate ways are extremely effective e.g. observing and listening to other, more experienced, colleagues or co-working on a project with a colleague who uses a different approach to you.

There's a number of ways that we can achieve our learning goals and some of these are listed below.
  • Formal education (university and TAFE)
  • Training courses (in house and external)
  • Conferences/seminars
  • Secondments and job rotation
  • Supervision
  • Agency visits
  • Staff appraisal process
  • Learning journals
  • Tools for reflective practice (e.g. a form allowing for reflection on the work completed with exiting clients which is jointly filled out at team meetings)
  • Peer supervision/support systems or networks
  • Access to specialist advice and support through networks and consultancies
  • Review of current work-based learning practices
  • Mentoring and coaching
  • Networking
  • Computer-based learning
  • Feedback mechanisms among staff
  • Staff development/team building activities
  • Professional development plan.
You may also have identified a number of learning 'techniques' such as:
  • brainstorming
  • categorising and ordering
  • comparing and contrasting
  • reflection
  • analysing
  • testing hypotheses
  • problem-solving
  • observing and listening
  • self-assessment
  • discussion.
So, what are the benefits of the various strategies and tools, and which ones will suit your learning style? Let's explore one particular strategy – mentoring.