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

3.4 Analysing your own situation for work-based learning

Page last updated: 2004

As part of the process of analysing, and planning for your ongoing development it is important to acknowledge the range of factors that can impact on your ability to function effectively and continue to develop. These include educational and training opportunities, organisational policy, systems, workplace practices and organisational culture. Of course, this is also dependent on your own personal circumstances, including your level of motivation and commitment. Let's undertake some further analysis of your situation.

Some of you may be familiar with the process of force field analysis, which was developed by Kurt Lewin (1951). Force field analysis is used to analyse the forces that impact on goal attainment. To analyse the field of forces affecting a particular goal, you simply list the helping and hindering factors as arrows pushing against two sides of a vertical line. This tool allows you to visualise all the forces helping and hindering you in the accomplishment of a goal.

The following activity allows you to apply this concept. It will help you to identify the learning opportunities and barriers that impact on you personally.

Note: Before attempting this activity find out about your organisation's training and development policies.

Force field analysis

Diagram: Force field analysis form

Text equivalent below for Diagram: Force field analysis form
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Text version of Diagram

The diagram shows "My goal" is "to meet my learning needs in the organisation".

The headings "helping factors" and "hindering factors" are separated into two opposing columns. Examples are given for each:
  • Helping factors - mentoring scheme, study leave policy, accredited in-house training
  • Hindering factors* - lack of motivation, unaware of professional development policies, unsupportive supervisor

Task 1 - writing exercise

Question - What are the forces that can help in achieving your goal?

Question - What are the factors that may hinder achievement of your goal?

Review the hindering factors and identify those over which you have some level of control (e.g. lack of time, lack of motivation).

Cross out the factors that you have no control over (e.g. no easily accessible library).

Task 2 - writing exercise

List strategies (at least five) to overcome these hindering factors. (Remember to draw on the helping factors when developing these strategies e.g. a helping factor may be the existence of policies on professional development; a hindering factor may be that you are unaware of the detail. So, develop a strategy to overcome this.)

Discussion of tasks

This process can be helpful in identifying and articulating the constraints and opportunities to your ongoing learning. Did you find it useful? No doubt you have come up with a fairly comprehensive list of possible barriers to your learning. There may be some particular areas that you wish to discuss further with your module facilitator/coordinator.

Clearly you need to have an understanding of yourself, and your environment, if you are to seriously address your ongoing learning and development. You can then realistically plan within the context of your personal and professional life. You also need to think about what resources can assist in your learning.