Self-regulated Learning in the Financial Services Industry

Colin Milligan, Rosa Pia Fontana, Allison Littlejohn, Anoush Margaryan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


In today’s knowledge intensive workplaces, there is a need for learning to occur continually as workers solve complex work problems. The dynamic nature of work means that workers’ also have to assume greater responsibility for planning their learning. They must also take more responsibility for planning their learning, by setting learning goals, monitoring progress, and adapting strategies to suit specific learning contexts: behaviours that mirror the sub-processes of self-regulated learning (SRL). This study examines individual learning at work using SRL as a theoretical lens. Learning practices of knowledge workers in the financial services industry are explored, questioning whether workers who demonstrate varying levels of self-regulation of learning, undertake their learning in different ways. Study participants (n=30) completed an SRL Profile instrument and took part in a semi-structured interview with questions based around SRL sub-processes. The participants were divided into two groups representing those who reported ‘high’ and ‘low’ degrees of SRL in their current role. While the two groups did not differ significantly in their age, gender, or experience profile, the high-SRL group scored higher on a measure of recent workplace learning activity. Content analysis of interview data uncovered differences between high and low self-regulated learners with respect to a range of behaviours. During planning, high-SRL learners were more intrinsically motivated, while the low-SRL group relied more on external regulation from line managers. The high SRL group tended to have a broader professional network than their low SRL counterparts. Higher SRL had outward facing networks with significantly lower reliance on line managers, slightly lower reliance on immediate team members, and more links to colleagues from different offices and other organisations, who provided access to innovative practices. Exploring specific sub-processes (or groups of sub-processes) that predict workplace learning can identify behaviours that may be encouraged through workplace interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventThe 7th EARLI SIG 14 Conference on Learning and Professional Development: Transformations in Knowledge and Professional Learning - Universitetet i Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Duration: 27 Aug 201429 Aug 2014
Conference number: 7


ConferenceThe 7th EARLI SIG 14 Conference on Learning and Professional Development
LocationUniversitetet i Oslo
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