Learning in production systems : a study of operator work in highly automated process and manufacturing industry
Sammanfattning: The aim of this monograph is to study the work of operators with regard to the conditions of developmental on-the-job learning. This objective can be further described in the following questions: (1) What characterizes the conditions of developmental on-the-job learning for operators in highly automated industry? (2) How are the conditions realized of developmental on-the-job learning? (3) What is the importance of vocational education, personnel training and on-the-job learning as regards their effects on the operators' vocational competence?Based on activity theory and action theory we have chosen to define learning as relatively lasting changes in the competence of an individual as a result of the individual's participation in an activity. Learning can imply internalization of various aspects of the characteristics of the activity and also externalization of new courses of action. The empirical part of the study have been conducted as casestudies in two process industries and two manufacturing industries.The main findings indicate that the conditions for developmental learning largely depends upon the precence of challenging problems in the activity and wide degrees of freedom for the operators. When working with these problems the conditions for learning are also dependent upon an integrated or informally open work organization that offers possibilities for participating in problem-solving, a multitude of tools that are continuously developed, high and clear demands on knowledge and skills that can be applied and developed in the day-to-day work.The findings indicate that the conditions of learning are shaped by factors that facilitate long-term development over time, for both the company and the operators (e.g. with regard to a stable market or traditions in the company) and a management that puts a premium on long-term development of the activities and operators' work, for instance by development of production, products, organization and competence.What is the importance of vocational education, personnel training and on-the-job learning as regards their effects on the operators' vocational competence? On-the-job learning is the most important form of leaming for operators working in the process industry. Learning by vocational education is an important form of learning for operators who work in manufacturing industry. If the vocational education is closely coupled to the work activities the importance of this form of learning increases.
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