An exploration of the informal learning experiences of home-based caregivers in a non-governmental organisation in KwaZulu-Natal.
Kheswa, Siyanda Edison.
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Social science research on HIV and AIDS has tended to focus on the statistics regarding the spread of the pandemic and the prevention awareness campaigns. However, there has not been much research on the impact that the pandemic has on families and communities at large. Furthermore, although there are international studies very little research has been conducted on caregivers’ education and training locally. Therefore, the current study was done to bridge the gap between literature and practice by conveying findings that are based on a local South African context. The study was conducted in Mpophomeni Township, in Kwazulu-Natal. The research participants consisted of twelve home-based caregivers. The purpose of the study was to explore the informal learning experiences of home-based caregivers from a non-governmental organisation, Siyasiza, in KwaZulu-Natal. The study tried to establish what informed the informal learning experiences of caregivers. The study further investigated how the informal learning experiences were made explicit to inform further learning and also tried to find out what caregivers did with shared information to inform their practices. In order to achieve the objectives of the study a basic qualitative research design was deemed most suitable. The situated and experiential learning theories informed the study and were also used as lenses in the thematic analysis of data collected through observation, focus group discussions and in depth interviews. The findings of the study showed that caregivers’ informal learning experiences were informed by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The loss of own family members influenced caregivers to join the community home-based caregiving initiative to assist families affected by the pandemic. Furthermore, caregivers’ informal learning experiences were driven by career-directed ambition, exemplary learning and second chance learning. The findings further indicated that, for some caregivers, once new information was obtained, it was compared with the related prior knowledge, looked at for similarities or differences, and the value added to the previous experiences was determined. The study also found that caregivers valued and appreciated the information sharing sessions which improved their future practices and so made their jobs a bit easier. Lastly, the study found that caregivers played a huge role in supporting the families affected by HIV and AIDS since they mediated between homes and hospital by providing basic health services.
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