Self, Other and Social Contexts

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Post Module Assignment
Ph.D (MOTI)

Eskom Project Management Program (2008)

MODULE 1: SELF, OTHER AND SOCIAL CONTEXTS

Compiled by

Kavitha Prag
11 March 2008

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1Introduction1
2SELF, LEARNING STYLES AND REFRAMING1
2.1Kolb Learning Styles2
3Context of Learning in The Cost Engineering Department7
4Learning Styles within the Cost Engineering Department8
5The Development Plan10
5.1The Expert10
5.2The Novice10
6conclusion11
7References11

1INTRODUCTION
Eskom last built power stations more than twenty years ago and much of the estimating experience and data was lost in the decades where the company had an operational focus. This coupled with the shortage in the construction industry of suitably experienced cost engineers and estimators has made it difficult for the author to build up the organisational capacity within this functional area. In addition expert resources that have chosen to remain in the field and in the organisation are an ageing workforce approaching retirement.

The general skills shortage both locally and abroad, has led to a strategic choice to bring in newly graduated novice cost engineers and develop the capacity for future projects. The caveat here though being the shortage of skilled mentors whose time is already being fully utilised to run the current projects. Thus, there exists two extremes, highly experienced but ageing experts and novices with no experience. The lack of the middle ground threatens the sustainability of the function. How then do the novices graduates get developed to an appropriate level in order to fast track succession planning.

This essay endeavours to explore the various aspects of learning styles, experiential learning and its implications for learning and development on the estimating aspects of the build program within Eskom. The key outcome will be a development plan for both experts and trainees coming into the organisation so as to ensure sustainability of the function as the aging experts leave the company for retirement.

2SELF, LEARNING STYLES AND REFRAMING
Informal workplace learning has attracted considerable attention in the literature (Skule, 2004). The trend toward employees' assuming a more significant role in their own learning process, the importance being placed on learning as a core competency and lifelong process, and the recognition of learning as a source of sustainable competitive advantage for individuals and organizations alike have also stimulated tremendous interest in informal learning (London and Smither, 1999; Westbrook and Veale, 2001).

It is clear that formal methods of education represent only a small part of the workplace learning process. Strong theoretical and empirically based research has demonstrated that most effective learning occurs in the workplace in tacit, culturally embedded ways through normal work practices within organizations or other communities of practice (Steven & Mahmud, 2004).

Workplace learning can take many forms, from formal, institutionally sponsored learning including training and human resource development initiatives to informal and incidental learning.

Despite the huge investments made by organizations to equip their employees with the necessary knowledge and skills to be efficient and successful, outcomes are often viewed as more of an act of faith because actual results are not easy to measure.

Criticisms have been levelled against the nature of formal learning environments prevalent in most institutional settings and it has been suggested that most of what employees actually learn is derived from their own experience ‘on the job'.

2.1Kolb Learning Styles
Kolb defines experiential learning as a "process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience" (1984, p.38).

Fry and Kolb (1979) provide the potential to view the (job) environment in terms similar to how the person is viewed. They...
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