Holistic Learning: A workforce development paradigm

Ene, Gloria Unoma, Goulding, Jack Steven, Adjaie John, Godfaurd and Pour Rahimian Leilabadi, Farzad orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-7443-4723 (2015) Holistic Learning: A workforce development paradigm. In: International Conference on Innovative Production and Construction (IPC 2015), 28-31 July 2015, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.

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Official URL: https://www.lcia.org.au/


The development of workforce knowledge, skills and attitudes are widely acknowledged in extant literature as being pivotal levers to deliver process improvement and efficiency. The success of an organisation depends as much on its technical system as on the social system that supports it. Strategies for improving organisational performance need to incorporate arrangements for developing the workforce competences required to implement strategy. Lean construction by definition involves continuous small-step improvements (Kaizen), problem solving and employee involvement at all levels. The argument for providing workplace systems that support life-long learning within construction businesses therefore takes on greater significance. This paper reports on the pilot for a wider research aimed at firmly linking construction businesses to the learning domain. The pilot involved a survey of domain experts (276) which sought to characterise the Nigerian construction industry in terms of its knowledge and learning requirements, the supply systems for construction skills, the individual attributes required for optimal performance, and the appropriate pedagogical approaches for learning construction skills. Findings to date suggest that the Nigerian construction industry exhibits many characteristics of Taylor-Fordist systems but with tendencies towards knowledge-based systems suggesting the need for improved systems of learning. The training systems of construction firms were found to supply a small percentage of skilled workers to the industry pool, but the few were perceived to be the most competent. Construction skilled workers were perceived to require not only cognitive but also emotional and social competencies for optimal performance. This paper posits that the construction industry needs to align its skill provision systems with modern learning theory to create effective learners and learning environments within organisations to drive the learning needed for performance and innovation. The paper proposes the development of a conceptual model which captures the key elements of an effective skills learning solution for construction.

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