Skip to main content


You’ve ghost to be kidding me! Is it the end of the month already?

It's the end of the spooky season and we’re wrapping up with an article on job characteristics and learning initiatives. Specifically answering the question:

  • Do job characteristics impact workplace learning?

We’ve also dropped a few resources for those asking: What (and who) does it take to deliver effective organizational education?

Let’s get into a skele-ton of new research!

Balancing Act ⚖️

Workplace learning can mean a variety of things to different people. It can reference intentional or unintentional acts of learning which deal with acquiring knowledge and skills that “are of importance in order to be able to function in the work environment” (Taris, 2006).

There are many ways to increase workplace learning, such as:

However, an important question to ask is: do job characteristics impact workplace learning? Raemdonck et al. (2014) explored whether job characteristics and self-directed learning impact workplace learning.

In a survey of over 800 workers - job demands, job control, and social support were evaluated at the job characteristics level.

  • Job Demands references the physical and mental effort required of the job.
  • Job Control measures how much control the workers have over their tasks.
  • Social Support evaluates how much support the worker has from colleagues and management

The survey also asked about self-directed learning orientation, workplace learning behaviors, and demographic variables.

  • Self-directed learning orientation measures the extent to which they are “inclined to adopt an active attitude to learning; to take the initiative and to overcome obstacles to learning” (Raemdonck et al., 2014).
  • Workplace learning behavior measures the frequency at which the worker “actually participated in certain work-related learning activities during the past year.” So as not to introduce bias in learning regarding those happy in their current position, the researchers controlled for “mobility aspiration” (Raemdonck et al., 2014).

So, which job factors impact workplace learning? Results showed that those with high job demands “often find themselves challenged in their work,” which in turn leads to learning as part of their daily work. What about individuals high in self-directed learning? As expected, workers high in self-directed learning illustrated more workplace learning behaviors than those low in self-directed learning.

It’s important to point out that the relationships are not all simple! For instance, high job demands with high job control and high social support “do not generate a significant effect on workplace learning;” whereas high job demands with high job control, high social support, and a high level of self-directed learning “do show a significant interaction effect on learning” (Raemdonck et al., 2014).

Although it may not be a simple relationship, understanding the interactions between job characteristics, individual self-directed learning orientation, and workplace learning is important when designing jobs/learning initiatives.

Key takeaway: When developing learning initiatives within the workplace, be sure to evaluate job characteristics and learning orientations. It may be necessary to manage the pressure of a specific role and “allocation of complex tasks if learning is to be encouraged.” The results also point toward the need for organizations to encourage a culture of self-directed learning!

Read More ($): Raemdonck, I., Gijbels, D., & van Groen, W. (2014). The influence of job characteristics and self-directed learning orientation on workplace learning. International Journal of Training and Development, 18(3).

There's No "I" in Team🏅

Understanding how to create a successful organizational education initiative is imperative. It requires an intentional education strategy and a dedicated team to deliver on that vision. Developing a true organizational initiative should include educating anyone that impacts customer outcomes.

Assembling the right team to educate your employees, customers, and partners is crucial. While you may not be able to have all of these roles right away, these are the roles you should strive to have on your education team:

  • Program owner/strategic lead
  • Curriculum developer
  • Instructional designer/learning experience designer
  • Education marketing specialist
  • Graphic designer/media specialist
  • Facilitator
  • Data analyst

To learn more about these roles and the supporting roles that help bring things to life, read 7 Roles You Need On Your Organizational Education Team.

In addition to considering team needs, you must also build out the education strategy.

The Intellum Methodology is a collection of strategic thrusts we’ve developed (for 20 years) to help you build and deliver successful education programs.

The eight focus areas are:

  • Business goals
  • Audience strategy
  • Resources
  • Content strategy
  • Delivery strategy
  • Marketing strategy
  • Measurement
  • Application

Each thrust is a stand alone area. Meaning they do not need to be completed in order. Explore The Secret to Customer Education Success: Taking a Strategic Approach With The Intellum Methodology™ to learn more.

Pets of Learning Science Weekly

Our pet this week comes from our reader, Julie C. she says her dog Yoda is “a rescue that [they] have had for almost 3 years now”. He loves eating Chick-Fil-A grilled nuggets (because what Georgia resident doesn’t?), barking at cars, and sleeping. When it’s time to play it’s hard to choose between his favorite Squishmallows - Smores or Russell from UP.

Thanks for sharing!

Wondering why we’re including animal photos in a learning science newsletter? It may seem weird, we admit. But we’re banking on the baby schema effect and the “power of Kawaii.” So, send us your cute pet pics -- you’re helping us all learn better!

The LSW Crew

Learning Science Weekly is written and edited through collaboration with the Intellum content and learning science teams.

Have something to share? Want to see something in next week's issue? Send your suggestions to