Our client was a public sector non-profit research organization established in order to improve learning opportunities and outcomes in the workplace and to become a national source of expertise in workplace learning or “learning for work”. The institution needed to develop a conceptual framework on barriers that employed workers face in making transitions between work and learning or between learning and work – and to identify innovative, effective, or promising practices, programs, and policies to improve learning-to-work and work-to-learning transitions for employed workers.


Schroeder & Schroeder was commissioned to:

  • Develop a conceptual framework, or matrix, that cross-classified workers with specific characteristics, demographic or otherwise, according to the barriers they faced in making transitions between work and learning or between learning and work;
  • Compile an inventory of current Canadian best practices, programs, and policies to improve learning-to-work and work-to-learning transitions for employed workers, based on a survey of companies and organizations, supplemented by a Canadian literature review;
  • Highlight those Canadian practices, programs, and policies which are particularly innovative, effective, or promising; and
  • Identify the potential audience(s) for this inventory, together with examples of knowledge exchange activities which will be effective in placing the inventory in users’ hands.


The main challenges we faced on this project, within the scope and timing of the project, included:

  • Defining “best practices” given different perspectives
  • Searching out a large number of prospective organizations and practices that were worthy of consideration
  • Developing a meaningful taxonomy and framework that would be useful for different audiences
  • Effectively and efficiently capturing the needed information in a form suitable for use by different audiences


To address the requirements above, our consultants performed the following tasks:

  1. Developed of a conceptual framework – framework was developed in order to structure the data collection and the analysis and reporting on the project findings.
  2. Identified possible audiences and literature databases and sources –a draft information collection template was developed for both the literature review and survey of other relevant Canadian stakeholders.
  3. Conducted a thorough literature review and survey of key stakeholders – input pertaining to innovative, effective or promising practices, programs, and policies in the ‘transitions’ field was obtained from the literature and from an in depth survey and interviews with benchmark organization programs.
  4. Analyzed the results from surveys and literature review – results were analysed from the perspective of key stakeholders/audiences dealing with the identified employee groups and with barriers to work-related learning for employed workers. Suggested activities through which knowledge exchange can occur were developed. Key themes, lessons learned and recommendations for future practice were developed.
  5. Created a data base and final report – all information gathered was kept in searchable database form. Recommendations were made on measures to share the findings with potential audiences through appropriate knowledge exchange activities. The final results of the synthesis research project study were documented.


Through our methodology, Schroeder & Schroeder was able to:

  • Systematically identify and collate knowledge and information about “innovative, effective or promising approaches” that are intended to “improve learning-to-work and work-to-learning transitions for employed workers”
  • Identify key success factors in contributing to the success of work-related learning initiatives directed at employed workers; for example, taking a partnership/collaborative approach and the importance of tailoring learning to individual situational needs
  • Propose specific information products and information exchange activities that the organization should adopt

At the conclusion of the project all the objectives had been achieved, and the client was highly satisfied with the deliverables and the value added by Schroeder & Schroeder Inc.