Adult learning in a workplace setting: Key factors associated with the development of performance and efficacy

Date of Completion

January 2007


Education, Adult and Continuing|Education, Educational Psychology




With the growth of job training, the quality and effectiveness of such training is in need of evaluation and research. Research needs to explore if business training efforts are affecting job performance and satisfaction. Furthermore, there are gaps in the literature regarding the complex nature of mentorship in the workplace as it evolves beyond the traditional dyadic model. Within this context, the study was grounded in the framework of Bandura's (1986) social cognitive theory, in Kolb's (1984) experiential learning theory, and in Sheckley's (2005a) adult workplace learning theory. Specifically, this comparison study sought to explore the impact of participation in a six month experiential learning workplace training program on job performance and satisfaction. Using responses to a 15 item survey (n=66) and 12 one hour interviews, adult learning programs, mentoring and their impact on job satisfaction and performance, were investigated. Results confirmed and expanded upon the tenets of experiential learning and Sheckley's model. Differences were observed in job performance and job satisfaction between groupings by training, gender, and workplace location. The three meta-themes from the qualitative analysis, which focused on the individual learner, the learning environment and the multidimensional learning activities, elucidated the framework of this study. This framework was used as an empirical basis to suggest guiding principles for activities to enhance learning in the workplace. These principles can be used by employers seeking to create and support learning activities that will best increase their employee's performance, efficacy and ultimately the company's Return On Investment (ROI).^