Research Publications

  • Innovative Learning Cultures in SMEs- A Cross Case Analysis

    Dr Arthur Chia, Dr Yang Silin, Aishah Alhadad

    This study seeks to examine how organisational factors such as firm type, business model, management or leadership style and technology, structure and flow of the work, constitute an innovative learning culture. We use the idea of “learning architecture” that comprises “the organizational mechanism(s), artifacts, and human assets that the organization has constructed over time and which contribute to the type and level of learning within the organization” (Bishop, 2012, p. 516) to help us analyse, develop a framework, and identify the opportunities and support for learning and innovation in SME organisations.


    Full Report
  • TAE Landscape in Singapore-Characteristics, Challenges and Policies

    Dr Chen Zan

    This multi-phase project investigates the landscape of the training and adult education (TAE) sector in Singapore. It aims to provide baseline information about the current population and state of the the TAE sector, including the profiles, practices, beliefs and challenges of TAE professionals and providers, as well as the impact of government policies and initiatives on their TAE practices and development. A set of indicators will be developed as an initial effort to evaluate the current status of TAE sector. These indicators could be refined and evolved over time for regular tracking of the changes to the TAE sector and the survey can be repeated every 2-3 years. 


    Infographic Full Report
  • Seven Enablers of an Innovative Learning Culture

    Centre for Work and Learning

    This research note explores the notion of innovative learning culture in the context of organisational culture and workplace learning. It examines how a culture of innovation and learning can be enabled or supported through “Seven Enablers”. Two case studies – one from the eldercare sector and one from the advanced manufacturing sector are analysed using the Seven Enablers to highlight and discuss about innovative learning culture.


    Research Note
  • An analysis of the capacity of Singapore's industry transformation programme (ITP) to meet the transformation expectations: the case study of precision engineering industry

    Mantas Sekmokas

    This report evaluates a recent industrial transformation policy initiative – Singapore Industry Transformation Programme (ITP), which aims to improve coordination between industrial, skills, research and internationalisation policies in Singapore to support competitiveness and productivity growth, at the sectoral and cross-sectoral levels. As part of the research, an in-depth analysis of the transformation strategy of Singapore’s precision engineering industry is carried out to inform the assessment. Based on the analysis of the potential impact of the Singapore’s Industry Transformation Programme and the Precision Engineering Industry Transformation Map, conclusions are drawn about the likely outcomes of the ITP. Recommendations are also provided on the improvements that could bring additional value and impact in further facilitating industrial transformation in Singapore.



    Full Report
  • Dialogical Teaching: Investigating awareness of inquiry and knowledge co-construction among adult learners engaged in dialogic inquiry and knowledge (co)construction

    Dr Helen Bound, Assoc Prof Tan Seng Chee, Aloysius Chow, Wang Xinghua and Chuen Kah Hui

    To compete in the knowledge economy of the 21st century, organizations need to innovate and develop new capabilities to harness values of knowledge resources (Carlucci, 2014). Consequently, education of the workforce must adapt to the new business environments in the knowledge economy. In Singapore, the key goals suggested by the Committee on the Future Economy (2017) include the need for workers to develop and apply deep skills and strengthening enterprise abilities to innovate and scale up innovative practices. It is thus imperative to identify and improve adult learning approaches that can enhance the capacity of our workers to be innovative and productive knowledge workers.

    A promising approach is dialogic teaching, which refers to “a pedagogical approach that involves students in the collaborative construction of meaning and is characterized by shared control over the key aspects of classroom discourse.” (Reznitskaya & Gregory, 2013, p. 114) It gives learners agency and control over their learning processes and topics for inquiry, and more critically, engages them in collaborative meaning making and tapping into their rich experiences as resources for learning. Dialogical inquiry, knowledge building and co-construction, all aspects of this study, are important future readiness capabilities. Yet, research on a dialogic approach to adult learning is limited, internationally and locally. This qualitative project collects a rich range of data from two courses in two different Masters programs conducted at NIE, NTU to address the following research questions:

    i.    How do adult learners in formal graduate courses 1 develop awareness of their inquiry and how do they co-construct knowledge?

    ii.    How do adult learners perceive the relevance and effectiveness of dialogical approach to teaching and learning? 

    iii.    What are the implications of the dialogical approach for the practices of adult educators?



    Full Report
  • Talent Management in an Age of Digital Disruption-Implications for Skills Policy

    Prof Philip Brown, Prof Hugh Lauder, Prof Johnny Sung, Dr Manuel Souto-Otero, Sahara Sadik and Eric Lee


    Observations of talent shortage at the higher end of Singapore’s labour market often lead to the assumption that there are particular skill gaps or ‘talent deficit’ in locals. This comparative research on talent management in 30 corporations in Singapore, China and India puts forth an alternative explanation. Rather than any actual ‘talent deficit’ of Singaporeans, the study found that the perceived talent shortage is linked to companies’ ‘War for Talent’ recruitment strategies that rely on elite university systems. Singapore’s fairly flat university system does not signal to companies the elite base that companies can target, leading to Singapore graduates not being favourably positioned as talent in companies.  India and China, on the other hand, have a small pool of elite universities that companies can target easily using their ‘War for Talent’ strategies, creating the pipeline of sponsored talent on a trajectory to top jobs. Moreover, local knowledge commands a significant premium in India and China, in contrast to Singapore’s plug-and-play business environment. An expedient but short-sighted response to a ‘War for Talent’ corporate talent strategy is to shift the university system in Singapore towards higher levels of elitism, as is the case with the university systems in India and China. However, this flies in the face of creating a more inclusive society and shared economic prosperity that sit at the heart of SkillsFuture. A sustainable way forward for Singapore is to give due focus to transformational strategies that shift the local corporate landscape towards more inclusive talent approaches. There is now an excellent window of opportunity to do so, as rapidly changing contexts have undermined the efficacy of ‘War for Talent’ strategies.


    Full Report Research Note 1 Research Note 2
  • Business Performance and Skills Survey (BPSS)

    Jazreel Tan, Simon Freebody, Chia Ying, and Prof Johnny Sung

    The Business Performance and Skills Survey (BPSS) is a study of skills utilisation from the perspective of the commercial establishment. The analyses and findings from this study provide relevant and timely data on skills demand and skills utilisation at the establishment level for tracking and diagnostic purposes as well as to inform skills policies at the sectoral level.



    Full Report Research Note
  • The Right Servicing Approach to Social Services Delivery

    Dr Ruby Toh

    The right servicing model is a practical framework that aims to assist not-for-profit organizations that serve a social objective to achieve a level of service that is ‘just right’ for the ‘right’ individual, one that is neither ‘over-servicing’ the majority nor ‘under-servicing’ the minority. It offers an alternative framework to the traditional uniform, first-come-first served, appointment-based approach to social service delivery. It takes into account the complexity of heterogeneous public-private-people relationships in social service delivery, and permits continuous assessment for evolving organization-specific objectives, resource availability and client needs. Through enhanced responsiveness to citizen preferences and resource availability in service delivery, the model can contribute towards better resource allocation which is especially relevant in the light of rising costs of service provision and higher consumer expectations.


    Research Note
  • Moving from Fragmented to Seamless Learning Experience in Blended Learning Environments

    Dr Bi Xiaofang, Dr Helen Bound and Fadhil Mohamed

    This practitioner note offers a look at the different types of blended learning and their impact on learners’ sense-making. It is meant to aid instructional and curriculum designers of blended learning in better understanding how learners make sense of their learning to help inform decisions on curriculum design, including how and when to use the different learning environments in blended learning, and some useful tips in implementing blended learning to enable the better translation of learning across different learning environments. Read the full research note here.


    Research Note
  • Assessment Heuristics

    Dr Arthur Chia

    This report provides an account of the development of a set of assessment heuristics. The aim of the assessment heuristics is to aid curriculum developers and instructors in their thinking and assumptions about assessment in the contexts of work, and work-based and/or work-place learning.

    The assessment heuristics may also be used to create dialogues among stakeholders about the writing of (assessment) standards, accreditation processes, and curriculum and assessment design. Included in this report are findings of one workshop and two focus group discussions (FGDs) where participants tested and validated the assessment heuristics. These activities generated insights into assessment of, for and as learning, and highlighted opportunities for intervention and change in key areas of assessment as well as provisions for further improvement of the assessment heuristics.


    Full Report
  • Talent Management in Dynamic Times - From 'War for Talent' to 'Wealth of Talent'

    Prof Phillip Brown, Sahara Sadik, Prof Hugh Lauder, Prof Johnny Sung and Simon Freebody

    Is it time to call a ceasefire on the 'War for Talent'? Our research team took to find out through our study, 'Talent Management in Dynamic Times'.

    While a majority of organisations are locked in permanent competition to secure the most eligible candidates from a limited pool of elite talent, some companies are shying away from this 'War for Talent' in favour of a more inclusive 'Wealth of Talent' approach to workplace development.

    Under this model, all employees are considered valuable contributors, and given significant space to demonstrate their talent and capabilities. Read the full research note here

    Research Note
  • Rethinking Pedagogies to Develop Future Oriented Capabilities

    Dr Yang Silin

    In contemporary societies undergoing rapid changes, educational practices cannot focus solely on reproducing what is already known; they must also develop future oriented capabilities, to prepare people for a future that is largely for work and citizenship. What are these future oriented capabilities and do employees in Singapore found to be ‘book smart’ but lacking in soft skills) have them? If not, how can we as Adult Educators help them develop such capabilities? This article will offer some approaches and specific examples of applied pedagogies (i.e. problem based learning, teaching for understanding and project based learning) to help develop learners’ future oriented capabilities.

    Research Note
  • Supervisors' Key to Unlocking Sense-making at Workplace

    Dr Bi Xiaofang and Vanessa Cai

    This practitioner note aims to provide workplace supervisors with some key practical tips to overcome challenges in guiding and facilitating workers to make sense of their work-related tasks in order to improve the quality of their performance. These useful tips include the types of feedback and reflection that workplace supervisors can provide and facilitate. Useful tips are provided at the end of the note for workplace supervisors to consider and apply in their daily practices. Read the full note here.



    Research Note
  • “Whose IDeA is this?” Facilitating Professional Reflection and Communication Through The IAL Design Approach (IDeA) Model

    Dr Helen Bound and Dr Michael Choy

    This project builds on a model of curriculum developed by Peter Rushbrook (see Bound, Rushbrook & Sivalingam, 2013) that in this report we call the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL) Design Approach (IDeA) Model. The present researchers (Bound and Choy, in consultation with Rushbrook) envisage the Model as a tool for designers and facilitators of learning to reflect on their assumptions about curriculum, learning and learners.

    Full Report
  • Assessment For The Changing Nature Of Work: Cross-Case Analysis

    Dr Helen Bound, Dr Arthur Chia and Annie Karmel

    In this comprehensive report, we examine assessment in relation to the changing nature of work and policy thrusts such as SkillsFuture, analyse across six cases relating to different professions and learning contexts, highlight the challenges of leveraging assessment to enable learning and work, and suggest recommendations for assessment practice and policy making.

    Full Report
  • Assessment For The Changing Nature Of Work: Workplace Learning Facilitator

    Dr Helen Bound, Annie Karmel and Dr Arthur Chia

    This is ONE of the six cases on assessment practices and the changing nature of work, undertaken by the Centre for Work and Learning (CWL). The case draws on findings from the Workplace Learning Specialist course - an ambitious certification programme designed to develop a new role for practitioners in the Continuing Education and Training sector (CET). The case offers a number of rich learning points in designing and implementing assessment for learning and in developing and supporting new roles.

    Full Report
  • Assessment For The Changing Nature Of Work: Training Cooks For Menu Change In A Restaurant Chain

    Dr Arthur Chia, Dr Helen Bound and Annie Karmel

    This is ONE of the six cases on assessment practices and the changing nature of work, undertaken by the Centre for Work and Learning (CWL). The case draws on findings from the learning and assessment practices in a restaurant kitchen setting of a restaurant- chain operator based in Singapore. The case highlights the challenging conditions of workplace learning, describes the formation of learning experiences about “taste” for example, and suggests ways to enable formative assessment practices.

    Full Report
  • Assessment For The Changing Nature Of Work: IT Network Engineers

    Dr Helen Bound, Annie Karmel and Dr Arthur Chia

    This is ONE of the six cases on assessment practices and the changing nature of work, undertaken by the Centre for Work and Learning (CWL). This case is an analysis of a five-day classroom-based, instructor-led IT network course that has authentic work-based assessment designed into formative and summative assessment. Here, we examine the course outcomes and framework of learning and assessment, and highlight possibilities for the future for this course in relation to assessment for, as and of learning.

    Full Report
  • Assessment For The Changing Nature Of Work: Fire-Fighting Rota Commander Course

    Dr Arthur Chia, Annie Karmel and Dr Helen Bound

    This is ONE of the six cases on assessment practices and the changing nature of work, undertaken by the Centre for Work and Learning (CWL). The case focuses on the assessment practices of a fire-fighting commander course that foregrounds the nature of a demanding profession, and raises discussion about forms of knowledge and skills such as “leadership” and effective use of simulators. Here, the discussion seeks to advance an understanding of the learning and assessment of fire-fighting as a body of professional knowledge and skills.

    Full Report
  • Assessment For The Changing Nature Of Work: Aircraft Engineering Programme

    Dr Arthur Chia and Dr Helen Bound

    This is ONE of the six cases on assessment practices and the changing nature of work, undertaken by the Centre for Work and Learning (CWL). The case examines the assessment practices of an aircraft engineering programme. It reports on the hands-on laboratory sessions and students’ Final Year Projects, highlights how assessment for learning has been provided by instructors who facilitate the training and guide students in class, and suggests ways to support sustainable assessment that meet assessment of learning, and for learning. 

    Full Report