A Learning ‘Learning’ Model for Optimised Construction Workforce Development

Ene, Gloria Unoma (2017) A Learning ‘Learning’ Model for Optimised Construction Workforce Development. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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Integrating learning and work has become important for several reasons. The recognition that the key resources for wealth creation, knowledge and ideas are embedded in human capital. Furthermore, fast-paced advances in knowledge, technology, and access to information ensure that capabilities rapidly become obsolete. Continuous learning and workplace learning have therefore become essential. These developments have highlighted the pivotal role of learning in individual career development and organisational performance and the construction industry needs to address these issues. The construction industry, however, continues to report skill gaps suggesting that construction businesses need to consider creative ways to deliver skill-enhancing opportunities for their workforce. The challenge is global but has added significance for African emerging economies considering their developmental needs.
Integrating workforce learning and development key practices into construction business was therefore the crux of this research which was aimed at developing a conceptual learning model that will enable construction firms to optimise performance in line with their business goals. Given the complexity of the construction domain and the need to allow integration of diverse processes, perceptions, experiences, practices and interactions, a pragmatic philosophical lens was employed allowing for a mixed methods research approach. A social constructionist ontology and a largely interpretivist stance was adopted. Surveys and case studies were conducted employing questionnaires, interviews and focus group discussions for data collection. Data analysis methods used were relative importance, correlational and constant comparative analyses.
The research investigated the two main elements of learning systems the learner and the learning environment. The learner aspect found that emotional and social attributes were significantly associated with the performance of intermediate construction skills while key workforce practices emerged from the learning environment studies. These findings were integrated to develop the construction learning and development optimising model (CLEARDO). The research was limited to Nigeria because of its current focal position in the African economy.

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