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This week, we're slightly obsessed about the following questions:

  • How can we optimize informal workplace learning?
  • What's the impact of managerial coaching on workplace engagement?
  • Why has no one sent in any pet photos this week?
  • Would you be interested in a full-time position working on LSW?

Self-Regulation in Informal Workplace Learning

Much of the research we review in LSW is related to formal or non-formal learning. You may be asking: but what about informal learning? (If you’re not familiar with the differences between those three types of learning, the OECD has an interesting article summarizing them). While researchers don’t always agree on the exact definitions of these types, most of them do agree on three things: 1) the majority of the learning that adults engage in is of the informal type; 2) informal learning in the workplace is crucial for the success of the employee and the organization; and 3) self-regulated learning (SRL) is key to the success of informal learning. (See the image below, which was found at this site.)

The results of a recent study suggest that although the general SRL process seems to be similar in formal and informal learning environments, there are important implications for informal learning contexts -- specifically when it comes to cognitive learning strategies. Organizational learning culture, autonomy, and feedback “can motivate and empower employees to use their time at work not only to accomplish their tasks but to further develop themselves by applying the strategies of SRL” (Kittel et al., 2021, p. 15).

So, what does this mean for us, as learning professionals? The researchers encourage the strengthening of employees’ abilities to optimize their own informal learning. Specifically, they make the following recommendations:

  1. Provide formal training on self-regulated learning strategies.
  2. Incorporate SRL elements, like goal-setting and reflection, into the work routine.
  3. Establish an organizational learning culture that supports the employees’ learning. (Important to note: a strong organizational learning culture has been shown to improve employee performance and indirectly impact the organization’s financial gains.)
  4. Provide feedback and enable autonomous work.

Key Takeaway: We can optimize informal workplace learning by encouraging employees to engage in self-regulated learning, providing feedback, enabling autonomous work, and establishing a strong organizational learning culture.

Read More (open): Kittel, A.F.D., Kunz, R.A.C., & Seufert, T. (2021). Self-Regulation in Informal Workplace Learning: Influence of Organizational Learning Culture and Job Characteristics. Frontiers in Psychology, 12.

Managerial Coaching and Work Engagement

Following along these same “organizational learning culture” lines, a 2018 article explored the impacts of managerial coaching on work engagement, using measures of organizational learning culture, self-efficacy, manager quality and workload as potential influences. Research has shown that employee engagement leads to better job performance, client satisfaction, and an organization’s financial performance. But does managerial coaching improve employee engagement? This study’s results indicate that “the manager as coach and the organisational learning culture influence work engagement in a positive manner; however, the manager as coach has an indirect role in that the manager as coach influences the organisational learning culture, which in turn provides stronger work engagement” (Ladyshewsky & Taplin, 2018, p. 14).

Key Takeaway: Organizations should make a stronger effort to build coaching and learning into their work culture and management development initiatives. Training, leadership development, and ongoing support may be needed for managers to build their coaching skills effectively.

Read More (open): Ladyshewsky, R.K. & Taplin, R. (2018). The Interplay Between Organisational Learning Culture, The Manager as Coach, Self-Efficacy and Workload on Employee Work Engagement. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 16(2), 3-19.

Research Analyst Position Available

Do you love learning, conducting research, and promoting evidence-based practices in corporate training and customer education? Are you interested in contributing to Learning Science Weekly? Do you want to work at a great company (Intellum) with great benefits? Apply today!

Pets of Learning Science Weekly

Thanks to reader Doug L. for sending in a picture of Quinbo and Spuds, his absolutely adorable toy poodles. (We've been holding onto this one for a while and we're glad we did -- we need more submissions!)

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

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