Skip to main content


We had such a great time researching your suggestions last week! Keep ‘em coming! This week, we’re taking a look at a few workplace learning articles.

Training + Small Businesses

In a qualitative study (n=100), researchers explored the impact of management training on the organizational performance of small businesses to evaluate whether formal management learning interventions brought organizational benefits to small enterprises. (Whew, that’s a mouthful.) Results from the qualitative interviews indicated that participants believed that training increased firm profitability, improved staff productivity, and enhanced staff satisfaction.

Key Findings: It appears that there is a positive link between management training and organizational performance, but it hasn’t been empirically proven with organizational effectiveness data or profit figures. We’ll keep digging into this topic.

Read More (paywall): Panagiotakopoulos, A. (2020). Exploring the link between management training and organizational performance in the small business context. Journal of Workplace Learning, 32(4), 245-257.

Self-Regulated Learning + Training Effectiveness

Research has revealed that individuals who demonstrate self-regulated learning -- who proactively define motivating goals, monitor their learning, and select learning strategies that are adapted according to feedback -- learn new content faster and are motivated to learn more often. In a recent study, researchers examining training climate, transfer motivation, and training evaluation discovered that self-regulation mediates the relationship between these variables -- “providing fresh evidence of the importance of self-regulatory processes in enhancing effective learning and transfer of training in organizations” (Lourenco & Ferreira, 2019, p. 131). The researchers posit that human resources professionals could train employees directly in self-regulatory competencies, echoing earlier work by Kizilcec et al. (2017) that encouraged course designers to “provide learners with relevant scaffolding to support these strategies at the beginning of the course” (p. 28).

Key Findings: The benefits of self-regulated learning are many and include not only enhanced learning but also an increased transfer of training from the classroom to the workplace; this leads researchers to assert that it’s worth “actively fostering self-regulated learning among employees” (Lourenco & Ferreira, 2019, p. 130).

Read More (paywall): Lourenco, D. & Ferreira, A.I. (2019). Self-regulated learning and training effectiveness. International Journal of Training and Development, 23 (2), 117-134.

Bonus: Self-Regulated Learning

Want to encourage your learners to self-regulate? Check out this literature review from Virginia Commonwealth University, which focuses on the classroom but has recommendations that can be translated to the workplace.

Bonus: Dear Diary

Do you keep a learning journal? I’ll be honest -- until this week, I didn’t even know about learning journals. But there’s a growing body of research indicating that the use of these tools leads to better learning “by engaging learners in a continuous reflection about their learning and triggering the adoption of metacognitive learning strategies” (Schwendimann et al., 2018). There is also evidence that the use of a learning journal leads to self-regulated learning.

Practical Implications: Ask students to complete the following prompts in their learning journals after your next training lesson:

  1. I already mastered…

  2. I still have to learn…

  3. In order to improve, I will…

Read More (Open Access): Schwendimann, B.A., Kappeler, G., Mauroux, L. et al. (2018). What makes an online learning journal powerful for VET? Distinguishing productive usage patterns and effective learning strategies. Empirical Res Voc Ed Train 10(9).

Jacob recently graduated from the University of North Carolina’s Masters of Arts in Educational Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship program and is now working on improving engagement in online learning and development with his startup, Parade. He has worked for and started innovative online education companies and nonprofits in the US and internationally (Noodle, Rockit, Laureate, Strive, QuestBridge, Peace Corps). Jacob received his bachelor's degree in Cognitive Science from Pomona College.

Are you a student or recent grad? Share with us what you’re working on! We’d love to hear from you and perhaps feature you in our next newsletter.

xTalk: Grasp: The Science Transforming How We Learn

In his new book, Grasp, Sanjay Sarma, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Vice President for Open Learning, makes the argument for an educational system which revolutionizes the concept of student potential and explores the best methods to activate it.

Tracing the history of pedagogy from a neuro-cognitive perspective, Sarma and his co-author Luke Yoquinto summarize past practices and offer a vision for a different future. In this xTalk, Prof. Sarma and Yoquinto will discuss the book and perspectives on new ways to envision and implement education, both online and in-person.

Learn more about this MIT event:

Watch the xTalk live October 7, 2020 at 4:00pm ET on Zoom: 

Pets of Learning Science Weekly

This week we're featuring curious kitties Fiona and Ada from reader Christy T.

Send us your pet pics at

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 edited by Julia Huprich, Ph.D. Our head of growth and community is Julieta Cygiel.

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