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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Tempest-tossed : a learning journey in high tech Bridge, Christine H.

Abstract

This thesis explores thoughts, observations and theoretical research associated with work-related career shifts, adult learning and education. In contemporary society, work-related values are changing. Workers need to be flexible, adaptive and in terms of skills, up-to-date. Since an individual may experience a variety of career shifts during the course of her working adult life, learning and education are essential. But how should work-related learning occur and what avenues are available for those who require it? Workplace learning occurs in many forms and settings, and since learning is a personal process, it is difficult to ascertain ideal learning situations for each employee. The purpose of this study was to reflect on and analyze the just-in-time learning experience of one individual who underwent a career shift in the high tech industry. This thesis recounts the learning journey of the author, a high school English teacher and graduate student, who embarked on a new career as an education consultant. It is a multifaceted and multidisciplinary narrative that explores three distinct areas: the narrative and personal observations central to the author's learning and work experience; theoretical perspectives relating to the contemporary workplace and adult learning; the characters, themes and metaphors from The Tempest that illuminate the author's learning journey. Principles of adult education and theory pertaining to workplace and other settings for learning, along with characters from The Tempest, are invoked to deepen the author's understanding of what occurred during her high tech adventure. The author highlights contradictions between corporate jargon and educational theory, and dwells on dilemmas problematic for protean workers and others destined for corporate education and training. Concepts relating to knowledge management, organizational learning and elearning are challenged in conjunction with issues of power and knowledge. Caught between the demands of the continuously changing corporate world and protected realm of academia, the narrator is forced to combat a storm. Her survival is testimony to her capacity to learn, adapt and rely on previous skills garnered from years as a graduate student and English teacher. Survival does not come easy—there are fumbles, frustrations, and follies along the way. This narrative provides a personal account of what it means to learn and work in the high tech industry. Although this is one person's story, the insights developed and theory invoked have utility that extends to other workers and settings.

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