Don Gladney


While there has been significant research in the area of workplace learning, few studies have explored the balance between organizational support for formal workplace learning and the organizational support for informal learning by those who are nurturing and developing their Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) in the workplace. A Personal Learning Network (PLN) is a way of describing a collection of resources to which a worker (learner) can go to learn something. PLN resources can be family, friends, coworkers, and managers, documents, methods, procedures, or job aids (Warlick, 2009). Because of this lack of research, examining the relationships of PLNs and organizational support for workplace learning little guidance is available to organizations on how to allocate resources to support PLNs to maximize worker (learner) job role performance. This study is the product of a qualitative research approach using semi-structured interviews of workers in a variety of job roles within an information technology (IT) organization at a midsized university. The purpose of this study was to explore this IT organization's formal and informal support for worker PLNs. Simultaneously the study explored how workers grow, develop, and nurture their PLNs to leverage available organizational support. The study explored, for a given workplace context, the strategies for obtaining a workable balance between how an organization provides support for traditional formal training (learning) and how an organization provides support for informal learning both used by Personal Learning Networks. This study aimed to identify personal and workplace characteristics that represent definable, repeatable practices useful for organizations and individuals who wish to better understand what a workable balance would be. Achieving a workable balance of the intersection of formal and informal learning creates a climate conducive to high performance in the workplace because a deeper understanding of how to analyze a workplace environment to support a culture of formal and informal learning will enable an organization to better address future challenges.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational technology; Learning; Employees -- Training of

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

McManus, John F.;