Charting Collective Knowledge: Supporting Self‐regulated Learning in the Workplace

Allison Littlejohn, Colin Milligan, Anoush Margaryan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: This study aims to outline an approach to improving the effectiveness of work‐based learning through knowledge creation and enhancing self‐regulated learning. The paper presents a case example of a novel approach to learning through knowledge creation in the workplace. This case example is based on empirical data collected through a study of the learning practices of knowledge workers employed within a large, multinational organization.
Design/methodology/approach: The case example presented in this article is based on a study of the learning practices of knowledge workers employed within a large, multinational organization. Participants were members of a number of global, online knowledge sharing networks focused around the core technical and commercial disciplines of the company. Membership of each network ranged from a few hundred to a few thousand professionals at various stages of their career. The survey is available online at: The case study reported in this paper is based on 462 survey respondents, including 211 (45.7 per cent) experts, 128 (27.7 per cent) mid‐career professionals and 123 (26.6 per cent) novices, and 29 interviews were conducted with nine novices, and 20 experts.
Findings: The study proposes a mechanism to enhance goal actuation processes for self‐regulated learning in the workplace. The authors term this mechanism “charting” and provide a scenario illustrating how it might work in practice. Drawing upon social cognitive theory of self‐regulated learning, they argue that individualised conceptualisations of self‐regulated learning should be re‐examined. These contradict the interactional and collaborative nature of the workplace where goal actuation is socially mediated, structured by and closely integrated within work tasks.
Research limitations/implications: The case example is based on a previous study. It is not a real‐life example because this paper aims to predict a likely case example to enhance learning performance in the workplace, based on empirical evidence. The study on which this case example is based is limited in scope, examining a small group of workers in one multinational organization. Quantitative studies, as well as studies in related contexts, would complement and validate these findings.
Originality/value: This article extends understanding of the relationship between the individual learner and the collective knowledge and how this relationship can be enhanced through self‐regulated learning in the workplace.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Workplace Learning
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)226-238
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Learning processes
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Workplace learning
  • Knowledge workers
  • Collaboration
  • Networks

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