This project examines how people within crowdwork platforms learn and develop their knowledge and skills in the context of everyday work. The focus is on informal workplace learning initiated and self-regulated by crowdworkers, for example engaging in challenging tasks, self-studying professional literature, exchanging knowledge in professional fora, or help-seeking.

In this highly distributed and fragmented type of work where workers may not have access to learning support and professional development opportunities available within traditional employment (e.g. training or access to experienced colleagues) how do crowdworkers go about organising and managing their learning? What strategies do these crowdworkers use to identify their learning needs, source relevant knowledge, and find others to learn with and from?

This project addresses the gap in our current understanding of crowdworkers’ learning practices and the overall learning potential of crowdwork as a new and growing form of employment. To this end, the study identifies and describes the strategies that crowdworkers use to self-regulate their learning at work.  Drawing on the life course perspective, the project examines the personal motivations, goals, agency beliefs, educational and work pathways and other indvidual and environmental factors underpinning crowdworkers’ learning. The project describes, systematises and theorises potential patterns in crowdworkers’ workplace learning activities and self-regulatory strategies exploring whether and how the activities, strategies and factors correlate. The project also examines whether current forms of crowdwork organisation support or hinder learning, developing empirically-based recommendations on how platforms and practices could be reshaped to increase their learning potential.

Funder: Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Principal Investigator: Professor Anoush Margaryan

Host institution: Department of Work Sociology, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany

Advisory board:

  1. Professor Heather Hofmeister, Chair of Work Sociology and Co-Director of the Centre for Leadership and Behaviour in Organisations, University of Frankfurt
  2. Professor Vili LehdonvirtaAssociate Professor and Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford
  3. Dr Neha Gupta, ExperienceLab, University of Nottingham
  4. Dr M Six SilbermanProject Secretary, IG Metall, Germany