Informal Learning about Teaching among Novice University Professors

In this article, we present results of a study on informal learning about teaching among novice university professors at one university in Spain. The study identified teaching competencies developed through informal learning, strategies of informal learning used, and organizational factors that might foster or hinder the acquisition of teaching competencies. We gathered data through 18 individual interviews with novice university faculty, two focus groups with university professors, a document analysis and a focus group of experts. We conducted content analysis of the transcripts of the interviews and focus groups, as well as the documents obtained. The results showed that the competencies most often acquired from informal learning are interpersonal skills, methodologies, planning and content mastery. They are primarily acquired through strategies such as peer interaction and experimentation in practice. The main support for informal learning is the organizational climate, while the main barriers are organizational culture and training policy. The research contributes to understand the phenomenon of informal learning about teaching by novice professors, which is a topic not covered widely at the level of Higher Education.

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