Original Research

The relation of cognitive learning strategies to psychosocial employability attributes amongst black adult learners in the economic and management sciences field

Melinde Coetzee, Ingrid L. Potgieter
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 12, No 1 | a554 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v12i1.554 | © 2014 Melinde Coetzee, Ingrid L. Potgieter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 May 2013 | Published: 31 July 2014

About the author(s)

Melinde Coetzee, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, University of South Africa, South Africa
Ingrid L. Potgieter, Department of Human Resource Management, University of South Africa, South Africa


Orientation: Research provides empirical evidence of the importance employers andemployees attach to continuous learning and development opportunities as aspects ofemployees’ employability, retention and job and career satisfaction.

Research purpose: The objective of the research was to investigate the relation between adultlearners’ cognitive learning strategies (measured by the examination preparation inventory)and their psychosocial employability attributes (measured by the employability attributesscale).

Motivation for the study: Recent research has made important progress in understanding thenotions of cognitive learning styles in learning and psychosocial employability attributes insustaining individuals’ employability in the contemporary world of work. However, researchon how adult learners’ cognitive learning strategies influence the psychosocial attributes theyneed to manage and sustain their employability has been lacking.

Research approach, design and method: A quantitative cross-sectional survey design wasused, involving a stratified proportional random sample of 1102 predominantly early careerblack female undergraduate level adult learners. The participants were enrolled for distancelearning studies in the economic and management sciences field at a South African highereducation institution.

Main findings: Canonical correlation and multiple regression analysis indicated the abstracttheoretical and factual practical cognitive learning strategies as useful predictors of theparticipants’ overall level of psychosocial employability attributes and especially their levelsof career self-management and proactivity.

Practical/managerial implications: Learning practitioners should strive to integrate cognitivelearning strategies in the design of learning and assessment activities in order to fosterthe psychosocial employability attributes adult learners need to manage their continuedemployability in the contemporary workplace.

Contribution: The study contributes new insights to the employability and learning andeducation literature. The results may potentially inform formal learning and assessmentdesign in order to improve adult learners’ learning performance and employability.


cognitive learning strategies; psychosocial employability attributes


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