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.


Informal Learning, Higher Education, University Professors, Novice Professors, Teaching, Qualitative Analysis

Author Bio(s)

Laia Encinar-Prat is doing her PhD in Education at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) about informal learning of university professors. She is also coordinator of the Bachelor's Degree in Tourism and professor of research methods at School of Tourism, Hospitality and Gastronomy CETT-UB, affiliated to Universitat de Barcelona. She has also worked in different projects related to educational research, quality of socio-educational services and education for sustainable development in Higher Education. Email: laiaencinar@gmail.com.

Joaquín Gairín-Sallán is a professor of Pedagogy at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). He has been dean of faculty, educational center director and commissioner of the Education and Training Cluster in UAB. He is also the director of EDO’s research group (http://edo.uab.cat/en), the network of support to the educational management redAGE (http://www.redage.org) and the European project ORACLE (https://observatorio-oracle.org/en/home). His areas of specialization are: assessment and management of educational institutions, management of collective knowledge (education systems, public administration and companies) and issues related to training and learning communities. Email: joaquin.gairin@uab.cat.

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