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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Learning Virtually: A Phenomenological Study of Telecommuters

Christie H. Burton, Lisa Horvath.

This phenomenological study investigates ways in which telecommuters learn work practices that allow them to meet their remote work situation. Data was collected through in-depth interviewing and analyzed through the van Kaam method for phenomenological inquiry. Results indicated that telecommuters’ learning is impacted in profound ways by their isolated context. Telecommuters’ learning focused on their work context, processes and relationships. Similarly to traditional face-to-face work, this learning was primarily facilitated through trial and error, reflection and relationships. However, telecommuters had to rely on extensive industry and organizational networks, which were developed through technology, in order to receive adequate feedback and secure developmental relationships. Implications are drawn for practice and research within the fields of executive development and adult education.


Christie H. Burton  (United States)
Doctoral Candidate
The Graduate School of Education and Human Development
The George Washington University

Christie H. Burton earned a B.B.A. from Eastern Michigan University in 1986 and an M.S. A. from Central Michigan University in 1993.

Lisa Horvath  (United States)

The Graduate School of Education and Human Development
The George Washington University

  • Learning
  • Human Resource Development
  • Telecommuters
Person as Subject
  • Eleven participants were interviewed, in which seven were female and four were male, ranging in age from 23-38. Participants represented the following industries: education, hospitality, communication, bio-technology, high technology and oil. Each participant’s name remains confidential as agreed upon for their participation in this study.

(Virtual Presentation, English)